Booker speaks at Brown Chapel Sunday

Published 3:12 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

54 years ago, historic Brown Chapel served as the birth place of the Civil Rights Movement.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Pastor P.H. Lewis are among those who have spoken from the chapel’s pulpit.

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Democratic presidential candidate Corey Booker joined the list of those who have spoken in the historic church on Sunday morning as he delivered the Bloody Sunday Keynote Message before the bridge crossing ceremony that afternoon.

Booker told the congregation gathered at Brown chapel that he was directly shaped by the events of Bloody Sunday.

“I would not be here if it wasn’t for marchers on a bridge who inspired a man a thousand miles away in New Jersey,” Booker said.

The inspired man became a lawyer who voluntarily helped Booker’s family purchase a house in an all-white neighborhood after they had repeatedly been denied the home because of their race.

Booker cited the lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his keynote speech saying, “It’s time to defend the dream. It’s time that we dare to dream again in America. That is what it takes to make America great. It is up to us to do the work that makes the dream real.”

Booker called not for acts of rugged individualism, but for groups to come together to make a change in our communities.

“Rugged individualism didn’t get us to the moon. Rugged individualism didn’t beat the Nazis. It didn’t beat Jim Crow. We did these things together,” he said.

Booker was not the only one at Brown Chapel on Sunday who called for work to be done to defend the dream.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell was there to discuss a bill she introduced last week to restore key sections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which were rendered ineffective after the Supreme Court decision Shelby v. Holder in 2013.

“Our work is not done,” Sewell said, “We love to say that we stand on the shoulders of greatness and we do, but we all have work to do. My marching orders are to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

Former Secretary of State, First Lady and New York Senator Hilary Clinton, who also spoke at Brown Chapel on Sunday added, “If we do our part we can put this country back on the path that was forged here in Selma 54 years ago.”