GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

January 22, 2013

King's message lives on in Rockport march

ROCKPORT — It was in 1989 that a 6-year-old girl and her school friends, learning about life and works of slain civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., wanted to march for peace in his honor.

Monday, about 80 residents from Cape Ann and beyond came together to do the same in a now-annual march from Rockport’s Unitarian Universalist Society on Cleaves Street.

Monday’s federal holiday is set around the time of King’s birthday every year and his message of peace and social justice lives on in Rockport. The march was started by Lily Ruchman, and has become a tradition in Rockport ever since, with Monday’s march marking the 25th.

Lily Ruchman now lives in Portland, Maine, but her mother, Anita Pandolfe Ruchman, was on hand Monday and explained how her daughter got involved in social justice and human rights.

She said Lily had come home after learning about King from her first-grade teacher, Selma Bell. She was inspired to start her own march in town, after learning about King’s efforts for peace and equality and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Ruchman said.

“I asked her who was going to march, she told me ‘my friends,’” Ruchman recalled.

On Monday, marches shared those same ideals.

Ruchman said what surprises her most today was no other nearby city or town was doing anything special to observe King’s accomplishments.

Tom Gale, a Salem resident and member of Veterans for Peace, said he had listened to a recording of King’s speech on the Vietnam War earlier Monday morning, before he marched.

“It’s still relevant, even today,” he said.

Monday’s march and holiday also coincided with the second-term inauguration of Barack Obama as president, and Bill Grover, another member of Veterans for Peace and a Salem resident, said he’s concerned that the president’s policies, ongoing war and use of combat drones do not fit well with King’s message of peace. Both Grover and Gale have been marching in Rockport since the 1990s.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream Raw: Woman Escorted From Ferguson Protests California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Holder Hopes to Bring Calm to Ferguson Today in History August 21 Holder Pledges Top Investigators for Ferguson US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List