Jan. 12, 2012
As part of the observance of the national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday celebration, the Martin Luther King, Jr. West Virginia Holiday Commission (MLKWVHC), the West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) and West Virginia State University (WVSU) will sponsor three events from Saturday, Jan. 14, through Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. Activities include an awards ceremony, an evening gala featuring performances by West Virginia artists and an ecumenical commemoration and celebration service that includes a symbolic march and the annual bell-ringing ceremony. All activities, with the exception of the awards ceremony, are free and open to the public.
The weekend’s activities begin on Saturday with an invitation-only awards ceremony honoring 26 young people, five individuals and two service organizations at the Culture Center in the State Capitol Complex, in Charleston. Awards will be given for the YWCA’s 19th annual “Project on Racism” essay contest, The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s 27th annual poster contest, the Service Organization Honor Roll and the “Living the Dream” awards.
The Commission, the Division and WVSU also will sponsor a gala evening program in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater of the Culture Center at 7 p.m., on Saturday Jan. 14. Titled “Children of the Dream: Keeping His Faith, Defining Our Character,” the program will celebrate Dr. King’s memory.
The gala will feature musical selections by the Appalachian Children’s Chorus, Selina Midkiff, director; and the Capital High School VIPs, Kathleen Corbett, director. There also will be two dance selections by the Capital High School Dance Company, Michelle Legg, director; and selected readings from the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by students from Alban Elementary School in St. Albans and Union Elementary School in Buckhannon. In addition, the Commission will announce this year’s Charlene Hodges Byrd scholarship winners, both of whom will perform. The winners are Anthony Braxton, the 2011 West Virginia Poetry Out Loud winner and a senior at South Charleston High School, who will recite poetry; and Dayja Legg, a student at Capitol High School, who will sing a musical selection. Byrd, who died in 2009, was a member of the MLKWVHC who spent more than 40 years of her professional life in public education.
On Monday, Jan. 16, an ecumenical service of commemoration and celebration of King will begin at 10 a.m., at the Asbury United Methodist Church, 501 Elizabeth St., Charleston. The symbolic march from the church to the north side of the state Capitol in the fountain circle for the bell-ringing ceremony will take place approximately at noon. Participants are invited for cake in the Great Hall of the Culture Center immediately following the ceremony.
For more information or to find out more about the state’s Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday activities, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220, or visit the Commission’s website at www.wvmlkholidaycommission.org.
The national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was designated by the U.S. Congress in 1983. It is observed on the third Monday in January, falling on or near King’s Jan. 15 birthday.
The mission of the Martin Luther King, Jr. West Virginia Holiday Commission is to provide programs celebrating the life and principles of King’s philosophy of nonviolence, lengthening his legacy. Strengthened by diversity, the Commission draws together members who strive to create opportunity for growth, leadership and power in order to attain a common vision: peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.