Antioch Missionary Baptist Church recently held its 44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, located in the heart of Acres Home.
Dr. F.N. Williams, Sr. Pastor of the historic Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, and a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, created the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration – the first in the nation. Dr. Williams was a close friend of Dr. King, and was the only pastor to greet him when he visited Houston. In 1954, Dr. Williams welcomed Dr. King at St. John MBC on Dowling, when he addressed the graduating class of the E. Hughes Business College.
Dr. Williams, along with the Houston Baptist Pastors and Ministers Fellowship, hosted the event. The Rev. H. Stanley, pastor of Progressive Mt. Hermon Baptist Church, brought greetings on behalf of the Houston Baptist Pastors and Ministers Fellowship, where he serves as president. Rev. F.N. Williams, II served as the Master of Ceremonies and Sis. Minnie Thomas delivered the welcome and occasion.
The excellent Mass Choir of Antioch presented praise and the event featured a powerful and spirit-filled choir competition featuring guest choirs from New Jerusalem MBC, Rev. D.D. Jackson, Pastor; Greenpoint MBC, Rev. Victor Williams, Pastor; and St. Paul MBC, Rev. Archie Thompson, Pastor. The Greenspoint MBC Choir was presented the award for Most Spirit-Filled Participation; the New Jerusalem MBC Choir was presented the award for Best Quality of Sound; and the St. Paul MBC Choir was presented the award for Best Presentation.
The keynote speaker of the evening was Forward Times Publisher and CEO Karen Carter Richards, who delivered a challenging and stirring message about the need for African Americans to strengthen their relationship with God; the importance of Black love and unity; and the power of the Black dollar.
“Dr. King gave us the instructions; we just haven’t followed them,” said Carter Richards. “He laid it all out for us. As a people, we need Black Love and Black Unity in our community like never before, and I am confident that if we commit to this, we will see Dr. King’s ‘dream’ become a reality for 2016 and beyond.”
Carter Richards, who is the third publisher for the largest Black-owned and independently published newspaper in the southern region, also spoke about the need for Black media outlets, as well as the significant impact members of the Black Press, such as the 56-year old Forward Times, continue to have on today’s society and the issues African Americans face.
“The Black Press has always been, and will continue to be about, unity and love,” said Carter Richards. “I challenge you to support the Black Press; not just when you get in trouble or need us to get your message out. The Black community needs Black media outlets that will not only promote the positive things happening in our community, but one that will also address the Injustices, the Wrongs, the Misinformation and the Mistreatment of those in our community.”
The inspirational highlight of the evening was special guest and national gospel recording artist Chester D.T. Baldwin and his choir. Baldwin provided attendees with a number of gospel songs that stimulated the mind, cultivated the soul and made everyone in attendance clap their hands, stomp their feet and have their souls nourished.
The 2016 “MLK Drum Major Award” was presented to Reginald Gordon, OG1.
Gordon, who uses educational methods instead of scare tactics to empower “at-risk” youth in Houston/Harris County, was chosen to receive the honor because of his unwavering commitment and refusal to never give up on Black and Brown youth.
“The death of the family starts with the lack of fathers and male role models in the homes and in the family unit,” said Gordon.
Dr. F.N. Williams gave a charge to Rev. Williams of Greenspoint MBC to conduct fundraisers during the month of February for Gordon, so that his OG1 programs could be sustained and implemented in various churches and communities across Houston/Harris County.
This celebration has brought great speakers and guests in the past, such as our newly elected Mayor, Sylvester Turner; former mayor, Dr. Lee P. Brown; Dr. Rod Paige; Shirley DeLibero; Federal Judge Ken Hoyt; Pastor Isaac Matthews; Pastor Ralph West; Georgia Provost; Hon. Alvin O. Chambliss, Jr.; Congressmen Al Green and Gene Green; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee; the late Beulah Shepard; Minister Robert Muhammad; Senator John Whitmire; Constables Ruben Davis, Ken Jones and Alan Rosen; Judge Ed Emmett; Publisher Roy D. Malonson; TSU President Dr. John M. Rudley; Councilmembers Jerry Davis and Jack Christie; Captain Paul Matthews; State Rep. Ron Reynolds; Honorable C.O. “Brad” Bradford; FBI Don K. Clark; Bubba Thomas; Dr. Vernus C. Swisher; William “Bill” Rosemon; Author Dr. Thurman W. Robins; Howard Middleton; and the list goes on.