Community celebrates MLK Day at annual Carver event

Zach Vance • Updated Jan 21, 2019 at 9:36 PM

More than a hundred people gathered at Carver Recreation Center on Monday to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a large feast and induct a new member into the Carver Wall of Fame. 

Introduced by Kenneth “Herb” Greenlee, Bill Adams took the stage at Carver and became the latest honorary inductee into the Carver Recreation Center Wall of Fame. 

“The Bill Adams I know is a caring person, always putting together teams and making things happen for the kids. I know him, I’ve seen him in action coaching baseball, football and different sports. (He) makes things happen in the community,” Greenlee said.

In addition to Adams, retired bus driver Carolyn Brady, retired school teachers Thelma Norris and Peggy Crumwell and members of The Pro-To Club were recognized with community service awards.

Brady was a bus driver for the Johnson City School System for 38 years, famous for her saying “Sit your body down.” 

Norris taught in the Lee County, Virginia, and Johnson City School System for 31 years. A two-time recipient of Teacher of the Year, Crumwell taught for more than 35 years, including 18 years at North Side Elementary in Johnson City. 

The Pro-To Club, which stands for “Progressing Together,” was originally found in 1952 as a recreation and social club for local African-Americans. The club is still operating today and awards scholarships to local students. 

The Rev. Ernest Widby, pastor of New Zion Faith Center, was the guest speaker for the night and touched on King’s legacy, including the time King almost died in 1958 when he was stabbed by a “deranged” woman. 

“If I had sneezed, I would have died,” Widby said, quoting King’s words during his “Mountaintop” speech given the night before he was murdered. 

“I went on that night to say that I’m happy I didn’t sneeze because if I’d sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around for the 1960s when students all around the South were sitting in at lunch counters. ... They were really standing up for the American dream and taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy, which were dug deep by the founding fathers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.”

The quartet of We Sing His Praise provided the entertainment, while a line of people snaked around the food line. 



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