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Staff photos by PAUL WARNERDelegate-elect C.T. Wilson received a "Trailblazer" award at the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Sunday from Ministers Alliance President James Briscoe, honoring Wilson for becoming the first African-American delegate to represent Charles County in Maryland's General Assembly. The event was at the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Waldorf.
The Ministers Alliance of Charles County and Vicinity held a celebration of the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Waldorf.
The celebration featured a keynote speech from Del. C.T. Wilson, Christian worship songs, a litany and recognition of "trailblazers" in Charles County who model King's legacy.
Wilson highlighted King's impact on his life, saying that King was an "inspiration" to him as a child and like a "mentor" as an adult. As Wilson (D-Charles) overcame difficulties in his childhood, he saw King as someone who pushed America in the right direction. He also said that he, like many, wanted to be like King and be remembered for doing something good.
Wilson also said that King's model of humility makes a deep impact upon him as he approaches the start of his service as a state delegate. He realizes that, like King, he can only be successful with the help of many people working toward a common goal. He also pointed out the need to support young leaders who might become like King in the future.
"We have a great community. We need to find those young leaders and lift them up," Wilson said.
The service followed the format of a Christian worship service, including times of prayer, Scripture reading, worship songs and a litany. The litany thanked God for raising King up as a leader of the civil rights movement, and included references to the Exodus refrain "let my people go" and the biblical prophet, Amos. While King is widely known as a major leader in the civil rights movement, it is often less recognized that King was an ordained minister.
"The leadership of the civil rights movement came through the local church, and it's important to know that the Christian faith played a major role in Dr. King's life," alliance President James Briscoe said.
The celebration recognized a number of dignitaries in the audience, including Al Coleman, chairman of the Charles County Democratic Central Committee, Charles County Commissioner Debra Davis (D) and the Charles County NAACP's former president William Braxton and current President Al Jackson.
Later, Briscoe presented a number of community leaders with "Trailblazer" awards, recognizing the role the leaders had played in paving a new way for people in Charles County.
Briscoe gave an award to Wilson, recognizing him as the first African-American to represent Charles County in the General Assembly. Briscoe then gave an award to Braxton, commending his efforts to obtain equality in education for all children and his role in establishing the Indian Head business initiative.
Next, Briscoe presented Louise Webb, vice president of the African American Heritage Society, with a Trailblazer award for her work in fostering public awareness of African-American life and contribution to Southern Maryland and the nation.
Briscoe gave an award to Jesse Hansley for his legal support to the NAACP. Briscoe championed Hensley's work against racial discrimination and his efforts to restore the relationship between the NAACP and churches as chairperson of the NAACP Religious Affairs Committee.
After a closing prayer by alliance Treasurer George Rodgers, the service ended with the song, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."
After the service ended, Wilson affirmed that King's vision was for all Americans.
"Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision is not a black vision but an American vision," he said. "People all want good schools, safe streets and good homes to go to."