In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, as well as Black History Month, on Thursday, Feb. 27, one of King’s close confidants and ghost writers, Dr. Clarence Benjamin Jones, along with Convent Avenue Baptist Church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Jesse T. Williams Jr., were presented with the distinguished 23rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Award at Williams’ church, located on the corner of 145th St. and Convent Ave.

“I am always a little taken aback. I am seeing people quoting [King] frequently out of context to develop a thesis, an argument,” Jones commented as he went on to explain what he thought King’s present-day views would be regarding race relations if the fearless preacher were physically alive today.

Jones recalled King’s definition of a “wintertime soldier,” quoting the revolutionary reverend as saying, “Anybody can stand with you in the warm summer sunlight of an August summer … but only a winter soldier stands with you at midnight in the alpine chill of winter.’”

Said Jones, “From the standpoint of someone who has represented the great legacy of this extraordinary man, Martin Luther King Jr., I say to my African-American brothers and sisters, speaking of the standpoint of the derivative relationship I had with Martin Luther King Jr., the time is now for every African-American person, every person of stature in the African-American community, to come forward and stand with [other nations] in the alpine chill of winter, to show that we are wintertime soldiers.”

Meanwhile, Williams expressed his gratitude. “I am very honored and humbled to be the recipient of this prestigious award,” he said. “We at Convent Avenue Baptist Church remain committed to being social justice advocates in keeping with the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Israeli Ambassador Ido Aharoni added: “Dr. Clarence B. Jones has staunchly served as an ambassador for human rights, diversity and tolerance, and his influence on the American people and civil rights is invaluable. The Rev. Dr. Jesse T. Williams Jr. has devoted his life to serving his community and fighting for justice. Both of these esteemed individuals have carried on the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and are well deserving of this distinguished award.”

The Martin Luther King Jr. Award has been presented for the past 23 years to individuals and organizations who promote ethnic and cultural understanding. To commemorate King’s great vision, this award is presented annually to honor those whose work reflects and supports his legacy of hope and peace.

Jones served as political advisor, legal counsel and draft speechwriter for King. He assisted King in drafting one of his most popular speeches, “Normalcy, Never Again,” which the media incorrectly labels as the “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered during the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.