Approximately 1,000 people attended an annual Black History program sponsored by Maple Springs Baptist Church’s Cultural and Educational Experience Ministry Feb. 23. The program was co-sponsored by Prince George’s County Council Member Karen R. Toles (D-Dist. 7) and held in Maple Springs’ sanctuary in Capitol Heights.
“Our youth all have the capacity to be the next ‘first black’ something,” said Toles. “They have the right to dream big. If they dream big, they can change the world.”
The program featured gospel music performances by the Yancey Brothers, the Janine Gilbert Carter Quartet and violinist Eric L. Taylor; and a talk given by Addie L. Richburg, president of the National Alliance of Faith and Justice. Richburg spoke on the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed many forms of discrimination in public accommodation, and of, “civil rights in America as fought, won, and still sought through the converging of faith, education, equal rights and justice.”
Richburg encouraged attendees to seek education, to learn what discriminatory legislation remains as part of local, state and federal law, even where its reach may appear to have withered from disuse.
“If states mention God in their constitutions, it certainly seems to me that the church has a place in the civil rights movement,” Richburg said. “Dr. King had a dream, but he’s not the only one who sleeps and wakes up. All of us can have a dream, all of us can work together to forward the civil rights movement. It’s not going to happen unless we continue to say, ‘The civil rights movement has to go.’ Movement has motion in it. It does not say, ‘sit down.’ It does not say, ‘wait.’ You are empowered to move beyond the people who have gone before us.”
Richburg exhorted listeners to read and study, saying, “It’s no longer illegal for any of you to read.”