A procession of residents of all ages walked solemnly from Post Office Square to the First Church Jan.18, singing “We Shall Overcome” for the duration of their candlelight march.

It served as the preamble to the 22nd annual celebration of the life and work of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an event that was sponsored by members of Waldo County Peace and Justice.

The mood was both serious and hopeful as the group of more than 25 gathered at the First Church to sing songs from the civil rights movement, participate in readings of King’s speeches and reflect on King’s teachings.

Throughout the observance, people took turns reading excerpts from King’s speeches and writings, including the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” which addressed how segregation was hurting black families, and “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” an address he gave at New York City’s Riverside Church in which he opposed the Vietnam War.

But the observation also had a feeling of fellowship to it, as participants sang songs together, complementing the talents of local piano man “Fingers” Frank Wareham and the guitar picking of Bill “Ando” Anderson.

Percy Daley read from the “Roll Call of Martyrs” to remember some of the many people who lost their lives due to their role in the civil rights movement.

“There are plenty more whose names we don’t know,” said Daley.

Daley remembered names like the Rev. George Lee, who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 because he was assisting black people with registering to vote. Also included in the roll call were James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, three young men who were murdered near Philadelphia, Miss., in 1964. The trio had planned to assist in organizing a major push to help blacks register to vote in that state. Daley also remembered slain National Association for the Advancement of Colored People head Medgar Evers, who in 1963 was shot to death outside his home in Jackson, Miss. And Daly remembered the April 1968 assassination of King himself, who was gunned down as he stood on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tenn.

The group observed a moment of silence in memory of those lost lives.