The Dream Still a Dream, King's Daughter Laments; Yolanda King Speaks at the Willie E. Gary/Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon

Article excerpt

Byline: JESSIE-LYNNE KERR

Six days before the 21st observance of the national holiday honoring her father, the eldest child of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. urged a Jacksonville audience Tuesday to "get up off your apathy" and keep working to make the slain civil rights leader's dream of equality a reality.

Yolanda King, an actress, author and orator who champions personal growth and positive social change, was the featured speaker at the Willie E. Gary/Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon held at the Be-The-Lite Conference Center.

She was the fourth member of her family to speak at the annual gathering. Her sister, Bernice King, spoke here last year, and their mother, the late Coretta Scott King, spoke in 2005. Her brother, Martin Luther King III, was the speaker in 2004.

King was introduced by Gary, the Stuart lawyer and philanthropist who said he never forgot those who toiled in the vegetable fields in which he labored as a youth.

Martin Luther King Jr., Gary told the audience of hundreds, was a man "who really made a difference in the lives of all of us. We are the fruits of his labors."

But Gary chided those who get smug with their own success and fail to reach back with a helping hand.

"Yolanda King," he said, "has never forgotten about the bridge that brought her over."

Had her father not been slain nearly 39 years ago, he would have celebrated his 78th birthday this year.

This year also marks 43 years since King spent a night in the Duval County jail, where he was moved for his own protection after being arrested in St. Augustine during a civil rights demonstration.

"People who are 38 years old or younger weren't born when Martin Luther King walked among us," King noted, and to some who were, "it all seems like misty images."

But, she assured her listeners, "it was live and in living color."

King the actress took over for a bit as she performed monologues portraying Dorrie, a girl in Montgomery, Ala. …