Moffett says way to honor is to accept responsibility

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Vicksburg Police Chief Tommy Moffett speaks at City Auditorium Monday in Vicksburg’s 16th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[01/22/2002]Police Chief Tommy Moffett told several hundred people Monday that accepting responsibilities as individuals is a way to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Moffett, former police chief in Biloxi and on the job in Vicksburg since October, was the key speaker at the 16th annual celebration of King’s birthday sponsored by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Day Committee, the Mississippi Chapter of Blacks in Government and the Vicksburg Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“We as adults need to lead by example,” Moffett said. “We need to maintain and use the values taught to us by our parents and grandparents. Only then will we be keeping the dream alive.”

Mayor Laurence Leyens, Warren County Board of Supervisors President Richard George, Sheriff Martin Pace and the commanders of Vicksburg’s three main military organizations, Brig. Gen. Edwin J. Arnold of the Mississippi Valley Division, Army Corps of Engineers; Col. John W. Morris III of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center; and Col. Frederick L. Clapp of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District, Vicksburg, were among the 15 people who spoke during the two-hour program.

The celebration also featured music by singers mainly in their teens and younger, with soloist Jeanette Foster, the Grace Hicks Brown-directed NAACP Youth Choir and Nathaniel Williams and The Mighty Train of Gospel performing.

Pace introduced Moffett, describing him as an honor graduate of the FBI Training Academy who was the first African-American elected president of the Mississippi Association of Police Chiefs.

“Dr. King preached love and nonviolence,” Moffett said. “He is a perfect example for others to follow.”

Moffett cited non-attendance at church as evidence of the lack of example-setting by many men.

“You see a lot more women and children in church than men,” Moffett said. “The problem begins with older men not doing what we should be doing.”

Eddie Thomas, barber and a Vicksburg civil rights advocate, presented a plaque on behalf of the Memorial Day Committee to Lurline Sanders Green for her leadership.

The day’s activities concluded with a twilight torch-lighting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and First North Street.