Congregation members file into their seats at Temple Beth-El of Jersey City for an annual sabbath service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. Former Jersey Journal columnist Earl Morgan spoke at the 29th annual event. Molly J. Smith/The Jersey Journal
Long time Jersey Journal columnist Earl Morgan spoke Friday night at Temple Beth-El of Jersey City’s 29th Annual Sabbath service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and noted a speech by King he attended in a city church in 1968.
The civil rights leader would be dead less than a week later.
“Speaking about King is an awesome task,” said Morgan who covered the King speech as a young reporter. “He gave an incredible speech and a week later he was assassinated...I can’t remember everything he said, the assassination blurred it.”
“We are in a lot of trouble right now and in some cases, in the black community,” said Morgan who worked at The Jersey Journal 32 years before retiring in 2009. Referring to the Civil Rights movement, Morgan said “I have high hopes but we have to go back to the roots of what it was all about.”
During most of his presentation, Morgan told of growing up in Jersey City as segregation and discrimination were loosening its grip. He even noted he was a member of a Boy Scouts troop that met in the basement of the temple. He told of the many people of all races and religions who nurtured and educated him.
In his introduction, former temple president and former Jersey City Municipal Court Judge Irwin Rosen read from a letter sent to the Jersey Journal by President Lyndon Johnson on Jan. 27. 1967 to mark the newspaper’s 100th anniversary.
“The heartbeat of our democratic life is an informed citizenry,”
Rosen read. “The Jersey Journal has been a credit to high traditions
that mark our free press.”
Rosen then said “The Earl Morgans of this world are essential if we are ever going to achieve Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream.”
At the beginning of the evening, Rabbi Debra R. Hachen noted the coldness of the ground outside but said in the roots of trees there is a vitality that will travel into the trunks and form buds, leaves and fruit. She said in the hearts and souls of people there is a similar force that drives them to make the world better.
“We can change the world for the better,” said Hachen. “We must change the world for the better. Dr. King’s call for human rights and equality for all will not be completed until we dream that same dream and climb that same mountain…We gather to climb together.”
Sam Pesin and his sister Judy also participated in the service. Their father, Morris, was a driving force behind the creation of Liberty State Park. Nearly three decades ago, Morris Pesin co-founded Friday’s interfaith service, Sam Pesin said.Others attending the service included state Assemblyman Charles Mainor, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Jersey City City Council President Rolando R. Lavarro, Jersey City City Council members Diane Coleman and Khemraj "Chico" Ramchal, as well as Jersey City NAACP President Bill Braker.
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Tags: jersey journal columnist earl morgan temple honoring martin luther king the jersey journal
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