BY SHERRI L. JAMES, WV BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL (BOARD MEMBER); KELLY MILLER COMMUNITY CENTER (PROGRAM COORDINATOR); MONTICELLO BLUEPRINT COMMUNITIES TEAM (COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE MEMBER)
The West Virginia Black Heritage Festival, Inc. in partnership with the Monticello community team, now participating in the Blueprint Communities program, celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The celebration took place at the Kelly Miller Community Center in Clarksburg, WV. We decided to hold the event on January 15, 2020 because it was his birthday.
Katherine L. Dooley, Esquire was the keynote speaker, Ms. Dooley has been a practicing attorney for more than twenty-nine years. She is the principal of The Dooley Law Firm, P.L.L.C. where she concentrates her practice in plaintiff’s work. The theme for her speech was The Charge to Keep.
The event was opened with prayer by Pastor Rahaan A Armand and welcome by Deacon Hodge and Pastor Franklin Hairston. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Arin Shatto, Community Engagement AmeriCorps VISTA with the WV Community Development Hub.
Lift Every Voice & Sing was sung in unison with all in attendance. Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, often referred to as the Black National Anthem, is a song written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) in 1900 and set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954) in 1905.
The City of Clarksburg’s Mayor Ryan Kennedy and County Commissioner Ron Watson presented Proclamations declaring January 15, 2020, Dr. Martin Luther King Day.
There were several beautiful musical selections by Morning Star Baptist Church of Fairmont, WV.
There were special presentations given by Myya Helm & Dre Hodges both West Virginia University Students, and Josiah Corley who attends Mountaineer Middle School in Clarksburg, WV.
The Jr. Friends from The Clarksburg Public Library presented their favorite Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes.
It was a blessing to be a part of celebrating the life of a man who was an activist and leader of the Civil Rights Movement, who peacefully stood against racial violence and inequality. He paid the ultimate price so that I and people of color could have the same rights and privileges of every American. It is important for us to remember his campaign to end racial segregation on public transportation and for racial equality in the United States.