Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Clint Confehr

A U.S. Senate panel has started its postmortem on the pro-Trump insurrection Jan. 6. However, on Jan. 18, NAACP Branch leaders in Pulaski and Gallatin cited cause and cure for the insurgents’ behavior.

“We cannot remain silent about the seizure and attack on our capitol, or the dynamics that motivated it,” the Rev. Derrick Jackson, First Baptist Church, Gallatin, told his audience by way of car radio reception after a Unity Day Car Procession.

Nor should there be silence “about the push-back against Black Lives Matter or the tribulation of politics and its negative consequences for all Americans,” Jackson said, noting some 400,000 souls were lost to COVID-19 in the United States by Jan. 18.

Another 100,000 died within a month.

Practicing social distancing, branches in Gallatin and Pulaski celebrated the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday differently while addressing national distress.

“In the light of the capitol riot,” Pulaski change-maker Keidron Turner said by Internet connection, “it has become evident that [E pluribus unum, or out of many, one] — what describes many backgrounds, ideologies, religions and cultures forming one nation — has simply turned into a phrase that describes one nation divided into many broken pieces.”

Born in Pulaski, Turner is studying political science and public law at Belmont University. He spoke Jan. 18 during Pulaski’s 22nd annual observance of MLK Day led by Branch President Joseph Sutton.

Sutton encouraged the virtual audience to learn from the program, including Elkton School student TJ Cross who read Proverbs 21:2-4.

“People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart. The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just, than when we offer him sacrifices. Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.”

Evil can be defeated, Jackson said, inviting his Gallatin audience to speak out against the evils of society and encouraged them to listen to other people everyday. America would be stronger with conversations on how to move forward.

Instead of raising hands and saying amen, Jackson’s audience honked car horns in a parking lot where Gallatin’s Unity Day Car Procession ended.

Jackson asked them: “Are we willing to develop partnerships across political, social, economic, educational and racial lines that address racism in all its nefarious factions? Are we willing to take a multifaceted approach to racial injustice that values education, entrepreneurship, strong family units, healthy self worth, civic engagement and economic empowerment as important components of the journey toward racial justice?”

The program from Pulaski program ended with closing remarks by First Vice President Benita Cross who quoted Dr. King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

The program may be viewed at or on YouTube.

Clint Confehr

Clint Confehr — an American journalist since 1972 — first wrote for The Tennessee Tribune in 1999. His news writing and photography in South Central Tennessee and the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical...