Martin Luther King Jr. Remembered In Westport Ceremony

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Fairfield resident, Doug Taylor, a playwright, spoke of his experience at the March on Washington in 1963, almost 50 years ago, and remembers the event with awe. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Kimberly Wilson of Westport, one of the co-producers of the event, sang several times and recited Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise." Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Poet Gregg Cork read the "I have a dream" speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington in August 1963 to those gathered at the United Methodist Church in Westport. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
As a teacher at Weston Middle School, it was easy for Peggy Jorgensen to talk about the history of the Civil Rights movement to those who attended the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

WESTPORT, Conn. – It was a ceremony of remembrance and learning for the parents, children and residents who attended the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday afternoon in Westport.

One memory came from 89-year-old playwright Doug Taylor of Fairfield, in the form of a monologue from his play “That’s The Game Jack,” who recalled the March on Washington in August 1963.

He said he uses the monologue as a tool to help him remember the event. “The monologue helps me, brings me back to it,” Taylor told The Daily Voice. “All the things I talk about I see, I remember, I recall them actually happening.”

Going to the march from New York City, where he lived at the time, Taylor said he never believed it would be such an important event so quickly.  “It was very, very special. It was one of the special moments of my life,” he said. “When we got there, of course, everything was wonderful.”

When remembering King’s speech at the March on Washington, Taylor said, “he really brought everything home through that speech ‘I have a dream.’ He just set us all on fire.”

Listening to Taylor speak at the United Methodist Church was 10-year-old Bradley Snow’s favorite part of the ceremony on Sunday, although he said he came to listen to “the great music.”

This is the third year Bradley’s mother, Laura Snow of Westport, attended the ceremony.  She said she has learned something every year. “They really do some teaching of history and I think it’s important to not just get the day off from school,” Snow said.

For Peggy Jorgensen and her sister Kimberly Wilson, the co-producers of the event, the ceremony has been something they’ve done together for the last 15 years, although mainly in schools. Jorgensen teaches at Weston Middle School and she said that she wanted to share what she taught in school with the parents.

During the event, Jorgensen gave a brief history of the women’s part in the Civil Rights Movement during the time before King joined in Montgomery, Ala.

“We’re looking at the 50 year anniversary of the March on Washington; we’re looking at the 150 anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation – and Dr. King in his short life, 39 years old, and he did so much and we’re still working,” Wilson said. “I think in hindsight as we celebrate we still have a lot to do.”

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