Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream of justice and racial equality.
Today that message is something people right here in Central Georgia are still fighting for.
King's influence not only influenced Americans to fight for freedom, but people in faraway place, like Africa.
That fight inspired a special performance Monday at the Grand Opera House.
Organizers say it centered around the former president of Senegal and his country's fight for freedom from colonial rule.
When James Earl Ray assassinated the civil rights leader, the president wrote a poem honoring King.
That poem was shared with an audience in Macon Monday, as part of a celebration remembering King.
It was written to be shared with music, but none could be found, so a Mercer professor composed an arrangement and the Mercer Jazz Ensemble played it live for the first time at the concert.
Words written decades ago, but still relevant today.
“Until the church takes leadership in the struggle for racial justice, it’s not going to get very far,” Mercer professor John Dunaway said.
That’s why he founded the Beloved Community Symposium. They hosted the concert and their goal is to bring Macon pastors together to break down racial barriers.
“To improve the lives of Maconites so we can really experience the dream of people living together and being able to survive the times that we're in now,” said Community Church of God pastor Jason McClendon.
He's been involved in the beloved community for the past three years.
“We’re trying to make sure that what we saw in Ferguson doesn't happen in the place called Macon,” McClendon said.
He says that starts with pastors, and spreads through their congregations.
Events like Monday's concert bring both blacks and whites together with a combined love for the arts.
“This blend of all these creative talents and arts, I believe can create an atmosphere of peace and understanding that will go a long way toward healing the division in our community,” Dunaway said.
© 2018 WMAZ-TV