Mayor speaks at MLK event
By Neal Wagner | Shelby County Reporter
American citizens have come a long way since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, but they still have much work to do, Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed told a group of more than 100 gathered in Montevallo Jan. 18.
Reed joined other local officials and pastors in Montevallo’s George Dailey Park as the city held its annual Martin Luther King Day celebration.
During his speech, Reed encouraged black Americans to concentrate on their values, education and God as they sought to “renew (King’s) dream.”
“We must stop the evil plaguing our youth’s thinking, and take back our communities from the drug dealers and gangs,” Reed said. “Dr. King would be truly sad to see our communities have failed to destroy the drug use plaguing our communities.”
During the event, Reed urged black Americans to keep up with the ever-changing United States economy, and warned them not to consider President Barack Obama’s election the “ultimate victory.”
“African-Americans who are unskilled and unprepared for the upcoming economic changes will be the victims of what we once overcame,” Reed said. “The economic system being put into place now is the greatest threat to African-Americans.
“There are men in power now who have not yet learned the lessons of Dr. King, and our nation continues to be segregated,” Reed said. “Blacks compared to whites are disproportionately poor and uneducated.”
But the Jemison mayor also praised the progress America has made since King was assassinated in 1968.
“He would be happy to see all of the bigotry forced to the fringes of American society,” Reed said. “Some of Dr. King’s dreams have come true.
“The sons of slaves and the sons of slave owners now sit at the same table,” he added. “To truly know Dr. King, we must learn his lessons so we can truly be free at last.”