Honoring Dr. King’s Dream

Rocky Nimmons/Courier

The Rev. Chet Trower of Soapstone Baptist Church delivers remarks to the crowd gathered in front of the courthouse. “We need a dream, but we also need a plan,” Trower told those in attendance.


Pickens Courthouse hosts annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event

By Ben Robinson, Courier Staff

PICKENS — A medium-sized crowd gathered in front of the Pickens County Courthouse Monday morning to celebrate Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“Martin Luther King gave his life for civil rights,”  Pickens City Councilman Carlton Holley said. “But there is still work to be done.”

Ashley McGrath, music minister of Pickens Presbyterian Church, led a choir in the singing of several appropriate songs, including “We Shall Overcome,” “Jesus to Walk With Me,” and “Let Every Voice Sing.’

The Rev. C. L. Cruell, retired minister of Easley Union Baptist Church, then repeated Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

Bob Allison, a retired Pickens High School coach and teacher, helped lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, joined by veterans and youth on the courthouse steps.

The Rev. Chet Trower, pastor of Soapstone Baptist Church, was the featured speaker for the event.

“We need a dream, but we also need a plan,” Trower said.

Trower said that society should move toward a more equal distribution of wealth.

“I don’t have a problem with folks being rich,” Trower said. “As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind being a little more rich myself. But what I do have a problem with is an economic system that regulates the working men and women of this nation to a kind of permanent economic underclass, barely able to earn a living wage.”

Trower  further quoted King about the urgency of now.

“In other words, now is the needed time,” Trower said. “My brothers and sisters, it is one thing to receive the evils of our society and wish for a better day, but it is another thing to seize the moment and do what you can do, and do it now.”

Trower challenged the crowd to “commit and recommit ourselves and our sacred honor to protecting the progress we have made toward that dream.”

“Yes, we need a dream but we also need a plan,” Trower said. “We need to execute that plan. We need a plan to re-establish and reenforce the primacy of the family, which is a basic building block of our society.”

Trower said the breakdown of the traditional family is one of the chief contributors to many of the ills of modern society.

“We must teach our children to resist the impulse of premarital sex,” Trower said. “Every child deserves to be wanted. Every child deserves to be nurtured, to become all that God intended for him to be.”

Trower said a plan was needed to give South Carolina a strong school system.

“Our schools should be equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Trower said, “so that the quality of our children’s education is not determined by their ZIP code.”

Trower said he hoped for better economic development.

“The stock market is at an all-time high,” Trower said. “Yes, but more and more people are sleeping under bridges and depending on soup kitchens for their daily bread. We need to learn the economic rules of the game. We too need to learn the tricks of the trade, so that we too can claim our share of this great bounty in this land we call home.”

Trower’s last challenge was to the Christians in the crowd.

“We need a plan to go into the highways and hedges to tell a dying world about a man named Jesus,” Trower said. “We need a plan to tell them he was anointed by the great God Jehovah to preach the gospel  to the poor.”

The Rev. Chad Hendricks concluded the ceremony with a challenge.

“We have a dream,” Hendricks said. “Now get a plan.”