Parks, King remembered in Keyport ceremony

The community joined together on Tuesday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. - Photo by Jesse Beals
The community joined together on Tuesday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

With powerful images and mighty words, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were commemorated on Tuesday.

The Jack Murdock Auditorium at Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport was nearly full with those wishing to honor the memory and civil rights work of King and Parks.

Capt. Daniel Looney, commander of Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport, who described Parks as “the woman who inspired Dr. King into action,” presented the tribute. In what began with Parks’ prison mug shot, followed by photos of her throughout the years, it concluded with a picture of Parks, who in old age was sitting in a front seat of a bus.

Looney explained how her “civil act of disobedience sparked the civil rights movement” after she grew tired of being humiliated by archaic rules.

The tribute to Parks, who died last October at the age of 92, was followed by the powerful words of guest speaker Tim Wise, an anti-discrimination writer and activist who has lectured to more than 80,000 people in 47 states.

He spoke of King not only as a man who was famous for many things, but also as a man who made many people uncomfortable with the truth he spoke during a time when that truth was not accepted.

“The real Dr. King was one that was famous for a lot of things, but made a lot of people not like him,” he said.

Wise described the political parties who in “praising his name did nothing to further the cause for which he fought.”

“Today we live in a nation where only certain aspects of Martin Luther King are remembered,” he added.

Wise compared the terrorists that we as a nation face today with those of the past who may have not necessarily been dubbed “terrorists.”

“The only thing different about September 11th was it was the first time terror came from another country and not from the other side of the railroad tracks,” Wise said.

He went on to discuss the race disparities that are still prevalent today, adding that as long as they exist, we as a nation are not united.

“It was never suggested we profile white men with crew cuts in the Oklahoma City area,” he said, referring to the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings.

“We luxuriate in a false sense of ‘Work needs to be done, but it’s not my job to do because I didn’t create the problem,’” he said.

To drive that message home, he used an example of a pot of leftover gumbo that had been sitting on the stove of the New

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