Martin Luther King Jr. observances start Jan. 20
by Marie Nesmith
Jan 08, 2013 | 2929 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Brotherhood March returns to the Cartersville Civic Center during last year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Weekend Celebration. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, file
The Brotherhood March returns to the Cartersville Civic Center during last year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Weekend Celebration. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, file
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As the keynote speaker for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Weekend Celebration’s candlelight service, Mike Davis will pay tribute to the life and legacy of the slain Civil Rights leader by encouraging attendees to reach their full potential.

“I’m going to talk about the vision, having a vision, about what the future holds for you as a person. Hopefully, I’m praying, that [people in attendance] will catch the vision of having a great year, a positive year and a positive life,” said Davis, head football coach at Fayette County High School. “A lot of times, we go through our daily routine without even giving a second thought about where we’re headed and what we hope to gain out of this life. So I’m hoping to encourage them to be able to look forward.

“Dr. King was all about togetherness. He was all about having a dream, about having a great future and making a change and that’s what I would like to establish as well. I’m just going to feed off of what he has already said in terms of just looking forward to the future and looking forward to change.”

To be held Sunday, Jan. 20, at 6 p.m., the candlelight service at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church — 147 Jones St. in Cartersville — will kick off two days of programs organized by the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee of Bartow County. Like last year’s offerings, the upcoming observances will be free and open to the public, bearing the theme “Remember! Celebrate! Act! — a day on, not a day off.”

After the service, which also will present college scholarships and the Drum Major Award to local residents, the King festivities will resume on Monday, Jan. 21, with a youth rally at 10 a.m. at St. Luke A.M.E. Church, 130 Jones St. in Cartersville. Youth are invited to pay tribute to King’s life with songs, skits, poetry and dance.

The day’s events also will include a Brotherhood March at 2 p.m. Participants will assemble at the Cartersville Civic Center — 435 W. Main St. — at 1:15 p.m. Grand Marshals Reuben and Mildred Peeks will lead the procession to the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center, 135 W. Cherokee Ave. After a wreath-laying ceremony, the crowd will return to the civic center for a Brotherhood Program that will feature a message from the Rev. Michael Daniel with Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Stilesboro.

A federal and state holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day marks the Civil Rights leader’s birthday and is recognized on the third Monday in January. Even though it has been about 45 years since King was assassinated, Linda Kellogg — chairperson of the local Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee — said his message still is relevant today and needs to be shared among individuals of all ages.

“Personally, for me it’s a great reminder,” Kellogg said. “I live this every day but when the weekend and a day is set aside it also gives me a chance to think on it too. First of all, it’s not just an African-American celebration. It’s for all races and I emphasize all races. It’s for all [economic] statuses. You can be rich, poor.

“It’s about education. ... It’s about war and peace. There’s so many things [and] that’s what I want them to [learn from these programs]. The things that people have lived and died for are still going on today.”

Referring to King’s effort to implement change through nonviolent measures, she said this approach needs to be applied to today’s troubles as well. For Kellogg, many misunderstandings and arguments across the nation could be settled quicker if people made an effort to talk to one another.

“There’s so much anger and I’m not just talking about kids. There are adults that are angry,” Kellogg said. “... It just seems like people need to be more loving and realize that there’s enough for all of us to do. The things that I want people to take away from the Martin Luther King Holiday Celebration is that we need to leave that celebration going back [to] our community, helping our community in whatever capacity that may be.

“There’s so much for all of us to do without waiting for it to be done and that’s what I like about Cartersville [and] Bartow County. I like for us to take care of our own but it can’t just be a faithful few. And I’m really emphasizing that more and more now.”

For more information about the King Holiday Weekend Celebration, call 770-865-1797.