No area cities officially sponsor MLK events

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 19, 2004

In the five counties that make up the Demopolis Times coverage area in West Alabama, not a single one of these counties is having an official municipal or county event to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his 75th birthday on Monday, January 19. But, due to the lack of official events the churches of a lot of these cities are the ones left to plan and put on an event for the communities.

In Greene County, the cities of Eutaw, Boligee, and Forkland don’t have any official events planned. The President of the Greene County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Spiver Gordon announced their 36th annual Birthday Celebration Program going on from January 15-19 in Eutaw.

The theme for this year is, “Keeping The Dream And Seeking Peace In The World,” Gordon said.

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In Hale County, the cities of Akron, Greensboro, and Moundville don’t have any official events planned either. Greensboro has some local churches that are having services to honor King. Akron is also planning an event, but didn’t have any information available.

In Marengo County, the cities of Demopolis, Faunsdale, Linden, Myrtlewood, Sweet Water, and Thomaston don’t have any official events planned also. The Morning Star Baptist Church, a local church in Demopolis has a special program honoring King at 6:30 p.m. on January 18. Rev. Jesse Bell will be the guest speaker.

The community of Linden is planning a parade and then the honorable Congressman Artur Davis will be speaking at the First Baptist Church at 12:30 p.m. on January 19. Mayor Pat Vice said, “This isn’t a city event, I’m just participating in the parade to support the black community. Congressman Davis will be the keynote speaker at the church afterwards.”

In Perry County, the cities of Marion, and Uniontown didn’t have official events planned either. The two cities are having a combined community birthday celebration for King at the Perry County Courthouse at noon.

Johnnie McCalpine, former Superintendent of Perry County schools will be the guest speaker along with the Honorable Alabama Senator Hank Sanders will also be there.

In Sumter County, the cities of Cuba, Emelle, Livingston, York, and Panola also didn’t have official events planned for its residents. Sumter County Commissioner Ronnie Beard said, “There is nothing going on in Sumter County that I know of.”

The community of Panola is having its first annual prayer breakfast to honor King. The breakfast will feature attorney Barrown Lankster as the master of ceremonies. The breakfast will be at the Panola Community Center at 9 a.m. on January 19.

The Sumter County-wide program honoring King will be held in Livingston at the First Baptist Church on January 19 at 3:00 p.m. Rev. Jimmie Johnson, pastor of St. John Baptist Church of Meridian will be the guest speaker.

When asked about the lack of an official event in Livingston, Mayor Tom Tartt III said, “We have never done a official event because all the churches usually do something.”

The lack of official municipal or county events was a shock to Congressman Davis who said, “We need to make sure we honor his legacy especially during his fight in the second civil war, the civil rights movement in the 1960’s.”

Congressman Davis also wanted to stress the importance of having public events in these cities. “I want to encourage all the cities to have an event. We don’t want MLK day to become just another paid federal holiday,” Davis said.

Congressman Davis also talked about his travel schedule for Monday.

“I will be active on Martin Luther King Day. I will be speaking in Birmingham at the Unity Breakfast, then traveling to speak in Linden and finally speaking in Gadsden at their event.”