As part of the observance of the national Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday celebration, the Martin Luther King, Jr., West Virginia Holiday Commission, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and West Virginia State University (WVSU) will sponsor three events from Saturday, Jan. 19, through Monday, Jan. 21, 2008. Activities include an awards ceremony, an evening gala featuring performances by West Virginia artists and an ecumenical commemoration and celebration service, symbolic march and the annual bell-ringing ceremony. All activities are free and open to the public, with the exception of the awards ceremony.
The weekend’s activities begin on Saturday with an invitation-only awards ceremony honoring 24 young people, four individuals and four service organizations. The awards ceremony will be held at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex. Awards will be given for the YWCA’s 15th annual “Project on Racism” essay contest, The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 23rd 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 at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, on Saturday evening, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. Entitled “Inheriting Dr. King’s World House: Learning to Live Together in Harmony,” the gala will feature musical selections by the Appalachian Children’s Chorus, Selina Midkiff, director; Winfield High School Show Choir, Jeff Haught, director; Martin Luther King, Jr., Male Chorus, Leroy Robinson, director; We Are the Future, a youth group from Wheeling under the direction of Cory Hickman; and Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. In addition, dance selections will be performed by Desiree Hall as well as her dance group the Elite Performance Academy under Marlo Shaver Wentz’s direction. A reception with light refreshments will follow the program in the Cultural Center’s Great Hall.
On Monday, Jan. 21, 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 just before noon. Participants are invited for cake in the Great Hall of the Cultural Center immediately following the ceremony.
For more information or to find out more about the state’s Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday activities, call Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220 or visit the Commission’s web site at www.wvmlkholidaycommission.org. The weekend phone number for information is (304) 558-0162.
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 non-violence, 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, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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