CATEGORY: Lee County


HED:MLK service eyes "New Millennium"

By LaRaye Brown

Daily Journal

Hundreds are expected to turn out Sunday to remember the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream is still alive.

The Lee County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will host the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service Sunday.

The service begins at 3 p.m. in the Tupelo Civic Auditorium and will feature entertainers and a motivational speaker. It is expected to last less than two hours.

The Tupelo High Creative Youth Organization will sing the National Black Hymn, "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Other entertainers are the Northeast Mississippi Area Church Drill Teams, the Poplar Springs Male Chorus and Larry Montgomery, who will sing the National Anthem.

Benny R. Walls, motivational speaker and founder and president of Rise and Shine Unlimited, will be the guest speaker.

This will be the King Committee's 11th King Day celebration. The committee became a part of the NAACP two years ago.

While the NAACP sponsors the program, organizers say it is for everyone.

"This helps our community get together," said Viola Foster, chairman of the King Committee. "We worship together and talk together."

Kenneth Mayfield, who will present the guest speaker, agreed with Foster and said that everyone should leave the program with an understanding of history.

"We'd like people to leave with basically and understanding and appreciation of what has happened in our past and how Dr. King contributed to where we are today," Mayfield said.

This year's theme is "New Day, New Dream, New Millennium."

"The new dream is economic prosperity in our community," Mayfield said.

Between 500 and 1,500 are expected to attend the free event.

At 27, King was selected to lead a 382-day bus boycott that led to a 1956 Supreme Court ruling that said segregation on buses was unconstitutional. King's peaceful fight for equality continued until April 4, 1968, when he was shot by escaped convict James Earl Ray. The 39-year-old King had been in Memphis settling a dispute between the city and garbage workers. Had he lived, King would have turned 68 on Jan. 15.

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