Happy birthday: MLK celebration set for tonight

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 17, 2005

Dreams can come true when communities come together to make them a reality.

That will be the focus tonight at Lawrence County's 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Memorial that will celebrate the visionary civil rights leader's dream and birthday at 6:30 p.m. in the Ohio University Southern Bowman Auditorium.

"So many times we get locked into the idea that it is an African-American program. That is certainly not the case," said Robert Pleasant Jr., chairperson for the 2005 celebration committee.

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"We have a very diverse group. One of the best ways to honor his dream is by all of us coming together."

Nearly 40 years after King was killed in Memphis, Tenn., his dream lives on in those who share it. This year's theme is "Celebrating America: The Beloved Community of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

The event will feature readings of the words of Dr. King, special music and presentations by local speakers.

Dr. King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 to about 250,000 people gathered on the National Mall. Tonight, some of those words will be delivered to all who attend Monday's event.

"I believe the best speaker would be Dr. King himself. So, we will utilize his own words to present a great message," Pleasant said. "His words are still extremely relevant to our society today."

The annual MLK celebration is in cooperation with Ohio University Southern and is free to the public.

Refreshments will be provided after the program.

Other celebrations were conducted across the state and the country. The Southeastern Ohio Branch of the NAACP hosted a celebration today in Gallipolis.

Shawnee State University in Portsmouth had a variety of activities last week.