52 Years In, Love Marches On
by Lucy Gellman, The Arts Paper, Jan. 17, 2022
Tenikka Hampton lowered her mask and lifted her face toward the sky, her breath wispy and white in the morning air. Portraits of President Barack Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. peered from a sign that read “We Shall Overcome: The Dream Still Lives” in her hands. Around her, Humphrey Street was still waking up to the bone-cracking cold. She began to sing, collapsing hundreds of years onto a single city block.
“We are marching/On Dr. King’s birthday,” her voice rang out, and a chorus joined in around her. “We are marching/ Each and every day!”
Ten-degree temperatures couldn’t stop Hampton and members of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church from keeping spirits high at the 52nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Love March Saturday morning, held on what would have been Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 93rd birthday. Braving the cold and the wind, close to five dozen marchers began at the church’s Lawrence Street home, wound through the streets of East Rock singing, and ended with a short speaking program and mask and test giveaway outside the church.
“You are a drum major for justice,” said Pastor Kennedy D. Hampton Sr., whose father, the late Rev. George W. Hampton Sr., started the march in 1970. “We can’t get comfortable. We can’t become complacent. We can’t become satisfied. Because until there’s equal justice for all, we have no reason to be satisfied.”
…Mincing no words, State Sen. Gary Winfield said he was tired of hearing about the “Santa Claus version of Dr. King,” the mild-mannered beacon of harmony and racial reconciliation that Republicans tweet glowingly about once a year. He wants his children—and all children—to know the Dr. King who rallied for labor rights and against capitalism, who led the Poor People’s Campaign, who the then-nascent F.B.I. saw as one of the most dangerous men in the United States for his basic belief that Black people should have equal rights.
[You can read the article in its entirety at www.newhavenarts.org and click on Arts Paper]