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Protests in Perilous Times Need a Peacemaker Like MLK, say area pastors

The Rev. Robert Sellers, pastor, Friendship Baptist Church, Homewood. (Marvin Gentry, For The Birmingham Times)
By Sydney Melson
The Birmingham Times

These are times that beg for a leader like Civil Rights icon the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., say Birmingham-area clergy.

King, whose birthday is on January 15 and will be observed nationally on January 18 this year, was a man born with a gift to unify through nonviolence and peace, as well as with tenacity and devotion.

During the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, King and countless other Americans fought against racial discrimination using a broad range of nonviolent measures, including sit-ins, protests, and boycotts. Those efforts nearly 70 years ago led to the creation of legislation and opportunities for generations to come—though much work remains to be done.

This year’s King’s birthday celebration comes at a turbulent time, especially in the shadow of numerous Black Lives Matter movement protests that took place in 2020 after several Black Americans lost their lives to police brutality and one week after a riot in Washington, D.C., by pro-President Donald Trump protesters that left five dead, including a U.S. Capitol police officer.

In light of current events and the upcoming King holiday, the Birmingham Times spoke with area pastors about why King’s words of nonviolence are more important today than ever.

Click one of the links below to read what the pastors had to say. 

The Rev. Charles Winston, New Mount Moriah Baptist Church, Hueytown

The Rev. Robert Sellers, Friendship Baptist Church, Homewood

The Rev. Ken Gordon, House of Light Church, downtown Birmingham

The Rev. Dr. Michael Wesley Sr., Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Southwest Birmingham

The Rev. Thomas Beavers, New Rising Star Church, Birmingham’s Brown Springs neighborhood

Bishop Calvin Woods, Shiloh Baptist Church, Birmingham’s Norwood neighborhood