WINFALL — The speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance in Perquimans County Monday encouraged those assembled at Winfall Landing Park to walk in faith as they seek justice and equality.

“Don’t miss the Promised Land,” said the Rev. Kera Johnson, pastor of Bethlehem Apostolic Church in Hertford.

Johnson based his message on Deuteronomy 3:21-29. He talked about how both Moses and Martin Luther King Jr. got a glimpse of the Promised Land but did not enter it.

“What do you see as your Promised Land?” Johnson asked.

Johnson said King had a dream of love, equality and acceptance for all people. He noted that the dream contradicted the way Black people in this country had been treated for four centuries.

Johnson talked about the Jim Crow era, in which Black men were lynched and Black women raped without the murderers and rapists ever being brought to justice.

“Don’t you see the same thing happening today?” he asked.

Johnson spoke about how during the Civil Rights Movement people were killed for pursuing civil rights and churches were bombed.

“Can’t you see the same thing happening in this day and time?” he asked.

Johnson said Egypt in Moses’ day and the Jim Crow system that King struggled against both embodied powers that sought to oppose God’s will for justice.

Such powers are doomed to fail, he said.

“Just encourage yourself: One day my dream will become a reality,” Johnson said.

Johnson challenged those at the event to remain faithful to God’s will in order not to miss the Promised Land that he has in store for them.

Although much remains to be done, Johnson said, “God has brought us from a long way.”

Johnson made the observation that King did not seek the limelight. Rather, the Civil Rights Movement found him and brought him into the limelight.

The event began with a motorcade that departed from Perquimans County High School and traveled to Winfall Landing Park for Johnson’s message.

About a dozen cars took part in the motorcade, which was escorted by Sheriff Shelby White and deputies of the Perquimans County Sheriff’s Office.

Hertford Town Councilors Sandra Anderson and Connie Brothers, Winfall Mayor Fred Yates, Winfall Mayor Pro Tem Preston White, and Perquimans Board of Education member Arlene Yates were among those in attendance.

White gave the invocation at the beginning of the program and Jean Parker presided.

The group joined in singing James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”