"I knew I was going to be a part of history."​ Woman recalls Dr. King's visit to Tabernacle Baptist Church

Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
News 12 at 6 O'Clock / NBC 26 at 7

Almost 58 years ago, Dr. King preached at the historic Tabernacle Baptist Church, in Augusta. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Monday, Jan. 20th, we celebrate 37 years of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Almost 58 years ago, Dr. King preached at the historic Tabernacle Baptist Church, in Augusta.

A local woman was there when she was only 11 years old. She says she knew she was going to be part of history.

"Tabernacle Baptist Church has seen its share of history. From presidential visits to the visit of a civil rights icon in 1962, that would change the lives of many in this area forever."

On April 3, 1962, Augusta heard the voice of freedom.

"Not every 11-year-old was interested in being here, but I was," said Lourdes Coleman, who was at the church on the day Dr. King stopped by for a sermon.

Coleman grew up just down the street from Tabernacle Baptist, and her grandmother almost didn't let her see history play out.

"She lived in fear. She never gave me permission to come, I told her I was coming. I knew I was going to be a part of history."

But that day, a leader of Augusta's civil rights movement, Reverend Charles Hamilton, and Dr. King came together to inspire the masses.

"'We felt like we were the people he was working for. And we were prepared to do whatever he asked us to do."

Dr. King understood this community. As a child, he visited the Bohler House just behind the church.

"He was gracious. He spoke to everyone. He smiled."

That day he visited a community in need of a reminder of what really mattered.

"Somebody considers us to be important, otherwise he wouldn't have been here."

In a crucial time for a movement that would change the world, Dr. King marked history here.

"I knew that we were stepping forward, and that changes were coming. I wanted to be a part of those changes."

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