On the eve of the first black president’s inauguration, a packed house at Colbert Grove Baptist Church was reminded that it took heroism from past civil rights leaders to pave the way.
“It takes courage to change the course of history,” was the frequent refrain used by Evangelist Robin Wright.
Wright, who is from Athens, delivered the keynote speech Monday from the Colbert Grove pulpit on the day marking Rev. King’s 80th birthday.
For the past four years, the Madison County Pastors’ and Laymans’ Fellowship has organized this celebration of the slain civil rights leader’s life.
During her 30-minute speech, Wright noted prominent civil rights figures like King, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. Du Bois, Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks as evidence of courage spurring change.
Wright also intertwined Barack Obama’s ascension to the nation’s highest office — and his overcoming the obstacles of a multi-racial background — into her discussion of the future.
“He had to overcome that barrier … But it’s not about black or white, it’s about purpose and that I know where I’m going,” she said.
The event drew a standing-room only crowd, which included several county leaders. Among those in attendance were new county commission chairman Anthony Dove and new probate judge Cody Cross.
Wright challenged all those in attendance to better their community, underscoring her central theme of the day — courage.
“Yes, we can,” she said, echoing a well-known Obama refrain. “We can wake up Madison County and it will be a county like no county we’ve ever seen before … But it’s going to take some people that have got to have some courage.”