ELKINS - A celebration of the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Davis & Elkins College Monday allowed community members to share their thoughts on the state of race relations in society and the progress that has been made.
Laurie Goux, adjunct professor of dance at D&E, talked about her experiences as an elementary school teacher in numerous West Virginia counties where she wasn't always openly accepted. Goux also organized Monday's event.
Elkins resident Melvin Marks also took the floor, offering his thoughts on the changes he has seen within the community. He reflected on his childhood and the places in town that were segregated.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Tim MacVean
Laurie Goux dances with a child from the audience during a service celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday night at the Robbins Memorial Chapel at Davis & Elkins College.
"When I was a child the schools, churches and public eateries in Elkins were separate," Marks said. He also spoke of understanding where you are headed by looking back on where you have been.
"To know where we are today, we have to know where we were yesterday," Marks said.
More than 30 people came to the Robbins Memorial Chapel to take part in the celebration Monday. Goux began the service with a call to worship and a prayer of humility, both including audience participation.
Marks followed with a scripture reading of Amos 5:10-24. A video of King's speech "A Knock at Midnight" was played, allowing those in attendance to hear one of King's lesser-known major speeches.
Goux, after the speech, said, "What courage, what faith, what strength by Martin Luther King Jr."
Dance performances during the ceremony included a spiritual dance by Ishah Franks and a modern dance by Crystina Reseter, both of whom have worked with Goux.
The service concluded with a unity drum circle, which included all the audience members contributing to the music with various percussion instruments. Members were also invited to come to the front of the stage and dance with Goux to the music.
Goux thanked those who attended for coming out and reminded them of the need to work together to continue to progress as a community when it comes to race relations.
"This should not be the only time we come together," Goux said. "We need to do this more often. This is the only way we will continue to move forward."