01/15/07 — Gone, but not forgotten

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Gone, but not forgotten

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 15, 2007 1:57 PM

For Shamellar Raiford and her classmates, this morning wasn't about the food -- but there was plenty of it.

Instead, the 20-plus Goldsboro High School students woke up early on their day off to pay tribute to a man whose dream, they said, has stood the test of time.

"I have never been in anything like this before," Shamellar said.

The 14-year-old has been singing for years. Still, she was nervous knowing that to honor King, she would have to sing in front of more than 400 Wayne County residents and leaders.

City, county and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base officials showed up at the Goldsboro-Raleigh District Assembly this morning for the 19th annual Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast.

Goldsboro Community Affairs director LaTerrie Ward remembers the very first year.

"It was a mess," she said. "People came that hadn't bought their tickets ahead of time."

Fast forward to this year.

"I've received phone calls up until this morning," Mrs. Ward said. "People understand that today is not a day off. It's a day on."

After breakfast, the crowd watched as Goldsboro High students showcased the school's creative arts department.

"It's great to have an opportunity for some positive publicity for our school," 15-year-old Jordan McIntyre said.

They did it through a performance entitled "What Would Martin Luther King Say Now?"

"He would be against the war," Jordan said. "He said he was against people dying without a cause."

Brianna Wallace wasn't sure what King would say about current events. The 16-year-old said this morning was just another chance to keep the civil rights leader's dream fresh in peoples' minds.

"It's basically keeping that dream alive," she said. "Just because he's gone, doesn't mean his dream is."

Tremaine Rawls and Ahmad Whitfield, both 18, said they intended to make sure their performance left the crowd with something to think about. The two lead the trumpets in Goldsboro High's band and were ready for their parts in "Amen" and "Amazing Grace."

While Tremaine insisted he showed up to take care of business as usual, his partner on the horns said he wasn't only thinking about the people in the audience who would hear him play. He was there for Dr. King, he said.

"I feel honored to be here," Ahmad said. "It's a real honor to play for him. I wish he could be here."

Mrs. Ward said he was, in spirit, and that having children headline the breakfast was important.

After all, King's dream was for them, too.

"This is something we need to let (the children) know about," she said. "Having them here is wonderful. There's just something about it."