Nighttime candle walk celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Monday, January 17, 2011 | 10:06 p.m. CST; updated 1:08 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 18, 2011
A man gazes into his candle during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. candle walk outside of St. Luke United Methodist Church on Monday night. Participants walked with candles from Douglass High School to St. Luke United Methodist Church to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

*Darrell Foster is a member of the First Ward Ambassadors and an 18-year resident of Columbia. An earlier version of this article misspelled Foster's name.

COLUMBIA — About 50 people participated in an annual candle walk to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday night.

They first gathered at the gym of Douglass High School, greeting one another, chatting and waiting for the walk. First Ward Ambassador Darrell Foster was one of them.*


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To Foster, Martin Luther King Jr. represents “freedom, justice and equality, that somebody who has given his life up ... so we can live better."

Although rainfall delayed the candle walk's commencement, celebrators braved the drizzle. Many sang while they walked, carrying candles they had brought from home. Their route stretched across Providence Road to the St. Luke United Methodist Church on Ash Street. 

The candle walk was followed by a memorial service at the church. Evidence-Teen Band, a youth musical group associated with the church, played at the ceremony, before Rev. Charles Jackson addressed the crowd. Jackson said there are still things we need to fix in society and by "treating the symptoms, not the causes" of conflict, progress in hindered.

One attendee, Curtis Soul, 66, marched with King in Washington in 1963.

"This is how Martin Luther King spreads," Soul said. "I’m talking to Martin — I’m Martin, she’s Martin, everyone is Martin, the little girl who’s 12 and the little boy who’s 6.”

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