Lift Every Voice and Sing: Davie NAACP remembers MLK

Published 1:58 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2023

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

Magalene Gaither would have been proud.

As the crowd at the annual Davie NAACP the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration began to sing the last verse of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the pace slowed down a bit.

Priscilla Williams, who helped organize the program at Erwin Temple CME Church in Woodleaf, remembered well the teachings of Gaither, who emphasized that the last verse should be slower because it is a prayer.

“That’s your Black Historty lesson for today,” she said.

The day was filled with prayer, the swearing in of new officers, music by Virginia Rush and a message from Erwin Temple pastor, the Rev. Ervin L. Hannah.

Hannah discussed the book Daniel from the Bible, chapter five, describing the times in Babylon when Belshazzar betrayed the prophet Daniel, casting him to the side as a forgotten citizen. He also ate and drank from golden cups stolen from the temple in Jerusalem.

Eventually, Belshazzar, literally, saw the writing on the wall: “It’s going to be alright.”

“When we, as a people, or a nation, a city or a community turn our back on God, we are treading in dangerous waters,” Hannah said.

When you stand up for nothing, you are treading in dangerous waters, he said.

When you are more concerned with building a bigger church building than saving more souls, you are treading in dangerous waters, he said.

“When we want more choir and less preaching, we are treading in dangerous waters.

“The church is not here for us, for you, for me, for our pleasure. The church is here for the world, to be its servant of the world for Christ. We are not here for ourselfes, we are here for others. We forget that the church is the Lord.

“When the world throws a party, the churches of God are not invited. We don’t fit in,” Hannah said.

He urged those attending to become more involved in their communities, to never miss a chance to vote.

“Run until God says ‘Welcome, my faithful servant’. Continue praying without cease. Be like a tree, plant it by the rivers and waters and if you do that, it’s going to be alright.

“Pray for our community. Pray for ourselves and as we work together to bring about change.”