Area events to honor King’s legacy Rocky Mount Telegram

A series of events will take place over the next several days in the Twin Counties to honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

In Rocky Mount, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission in partnership with the city will host different events with the overall theme called “Unfinished Work of a Dreamer.” The rescheduled MLK oratorical competition will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences.

Officials said students in grades six through eight will speak on the theme “Building Bridges,” while speeches for contestants in grades nine through 12 will speak around the theme of “Unfinished Work of a Dreamer.”

Ebenezer Baptist Church will hold its annual candlelight service at 5 p.m. Sunday at the church at 702 W. Raleigh Blvd. U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-1st District, will be the guest speaker. The theme of the evening will be “MLK50: Where Do We Go From Here.”

On King’s birthday, the 30th annual Unity Breakfast will begin at 7 a.m. Monday at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of N.C. Wesleyan College. The program is headlined by guest speaker, Synthia Saint James, who is known for her versatility as an artist, author, educator and architectural designer.

Following the Unity Breakfast, volunteers will come together for the annual Day of Service projects sponsored by Wesleyan.

Edgecombe County is preparing to host a slew of activities for the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration committee will be holding its 28th annual MLK events, which are coordinated by the Edgecombe County Human Relations Commission, The Ebonette Club Inc., Tarboro Area Ministers, D.R.E.A.M Social & Civic Club and Edgecombe Entrepreneur Organization.

One of the featured events will be the commemorative banquet at 6 p.m. Saturday at Edgecombe Community College’s Mobley Atrium Building. The guest speaker will be David Joyner, president of Joyner Media & Strategies Inc. Carlton Jones, member of the Edgecombe Entrepreneur Organization, said the traditional banquet typically draws about 400 people.

Jones added the high-school winner of the annual oratorical contest also will be speaking. In addition, the first-, second- and third-place winners of the elementary school annual poster contest will have their work displayed at the banquet.

“This is a big event, and we will have a combination of county government officials, along with local and state officals coming,” Jones said. (U.S. Rep.) G.K. Butterfield has come to the event on numerous occasions. Before the event, there are several of Dr. King’s famous speeches that are being played to reflect back on who he was and what he has meant not only for blacks, but also the country as a whole.”

Three events will take place in Edgecombe County on the King holiday. It kicks off with a Unity Breakfast at 8 a.m. Monday in the auditorium of the Edgecombe County Administrative Building. The Rev. Dr. Thomas L. Walker, who last year celebrated 50 years in ministry and 47 years as pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, will be the guest speaker.

Following the breakfast, people in the community will gather for the commemorative march starting at 10 a.m. The march will start at St. James Temple Missionary Baptist Church on McNair Road and end at Edgecombe Community College.

“We usually have between 300 to 400 members of the community come together because Dr. King was always marching for justice and social issues,” Jones said. “This is another way for the community to come together.”

The last of the Monday events is the Lunch with the King from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Edgecombe Community College’s Tarboro campus. The guest speaker with be Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson Jr.

Jones said the different activities dedicated to King is an opportunity for people — especially the younger generations — to understand what one of the most influential figures ever in the civic rights movement stood for, which was equality and justice for all people.

“His heart was in the right place and still today, we’re still pursuing those same justices that he was pursuing before he was assassinated in April of 1968,” Jones said. “He was on the march for peace and justice. I think most people today are conscious that we haven’t reached the goals that Dr. King set back in the 1960s. These events give each individual opportunity just to come together and reflect back on what his mission was and still is today.”

Other Nash County MLK events that will take place include the 26th annual Martin Luther King Memorial Concert at 4 p.m. Sunday at Smith Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Enfield. Greater Joy Church in Rocky Mount is hosting its ninth annual MLK Day service starting at 11 a.m. Monday. The service is followed by a black business expo that will feature more than 100 local and regional businesses.

In addition, the 21th annual MLK Community Empowerment Alliance will host a Community Empowerment Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Monday at the Franklinton Center at Bricks in Whitakers. The guest speaker will be the Rev. Victor Wade.

Also, the Whitakers Club will host the 20th annual Whitakers MLK Day Motorcade and March starting at 9:30 a.m. Monday. The event will begin at Whitakers Town Park and end at Bloomer HIll Community Center. The 28th annual MLK Day celebration will start at 11 a.m. Monday at Bloomer Hill Community Center in Whitaker.  Whitakers Mayor Esterine Pitt will be the guest speaker.