This year’s observance of the federal holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader will kick off on Saturday, Jan. 19, with an interfaith prayer breakfast at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church.
The guest speaker will be former state Rep. Johnnie Turner of Memphis.
The program will include a tribute to the late Dr. Ralph Van Brocklin, the Johnson City commissioner and former city mayor and school board member who died unexpectedly in September, and special recognitions of the Rev. Vincent Dial of Bethel Christian Church and his wife Mary, and retiring Johnson City Transit employees Donnie Hamilton and Terry Phillips.
The breakfast will be held from at 9 to 11 a.m. at the church, 225 Princeton Road. The cost is $15 per person, with proceeds going to the Carver Youth Historical Committee.
The celebration will continue on the Monday, Jan. 21, holiday, beginning with MLK Story Time from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the recreation center at 322 W. Watauga Ave.
Conducted in partnership with the East Tennessee State University Office of Cultural Affairs, MLK Story Time offers people of all ages an opportunity to learn more about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. through stories, crafts and music. Admission is free and lunch will be provided.
The annual NAACP Red Cross Blood Drive will be held from noon to 6 p.m. at the recreation center and will be followed by the annual MLK Dinner, a celebration of King’s life with music and food.
The dinner will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the recreation center gymnasium. Sponsored by Appalachian Federal Credit Union, the dinner is also free and open to people of all ages.
The guest speaker will be the Rev. Ernest Widby of New Zion Faith Center. The program will include a Carver Wall of Fame induction for Bill Adams in honor of his service to the community, and special recognitions of retired bus driver Carolyn Brady and retired teachers Thelma Norris and Peggy Crumwell.
More information about the events can be obtained by calling the recreation center at 423-461-8830.
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