A harmonious celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. January 2016

Posted on: May 22nd, 2017

Still miles to go: Local activist says in spite of progress, covert racism remains

Berkshire Eagle Review, January 18, 2016 by Derek Gentile and Dick Lindsay

The harmonies were exquisite, the melodies inspiring, but Shirley Edgerton’s words were the heart and soul of the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lenox Sunday afternoon. Halfway through the concert event, the Pittsfield activist Edgerton told an audience of more than 300 to “go out with divine dissatisfaction … until integration is not seen as a problem, but as an opportunity.”Edgerton’s remarks came during a “Spiritual Sing,” honoring King on his 87th birthday. The tribute to the slain American civil rights leader featured the a capella selections of the Berkshire-based Cantilena Chamber Choir and the vocalizations of the Price Memorial AME Zion Church Gospel Choir of Pittsfield. The finale featured both groups onstage singing together the songs “Total Praise” and “Just Want To Praise You.”

At Trinity Church, Edgerton spoke of King’s mission that must still be carried out today. “We need our white brothers and sisters to talk about racism,” exhorted Edgerton. “We need you to see our blackness and celebrate it.” King’s vision has also yet to be fully realized. “We have prayed, marched, boycotted, been beaten, spat upon, even killed, and an African-American has been elected president,” she said, to applause, “but racism remains, more covertly now than during the Civil Rights era.”

Zion AME Choir

Members of the Cantilena Chamber Choir perform during Martin Luther King Sunday at Trinity Church in Lenox. (Gillian Jones — The Berkshire Eagle)