Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963.

Video: Former TV Star Captivates With Civil Rights Songs to Celebrate MLK

Leeanne Root

Natalie Daise, who created and starred in Gullah Gullah Island with her husband, captivated churchgoers at the Unitarian Church in Charleston, South Carolina with stories and songs Sunday, January 19 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day.

She started with a children’s story about how blacks and whites came together to get the Civil Rights Movement going and how just because something isn’t necessarily your problem, you should help each other anyway.

Her sermon told the story of the fight for freedom from slavery to the Emancipation Proclamation—singing songs along the way. Songs that held secret messages used on the underground railroad.

A song with the lyrics “wade in the water” tells escaping slaves to run through rivers to throw chasing dogs off their scent.

Daise said King’s assassination was like losing Jesus in her neighborhood. In her house they always had three pictures, Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy—what she called “the holy trinity.”

Daise’s show, Gullah Gullah Island, was on Nick Jr. in 1996 and 1997 and was nominated for a daytime Emmy in 1997. After the show stopped airing in 1997, she and her husband, Ron, continued to tour and perform Gullah Gullah Island Live!

The song below is the last one she sang of her sermon: