“The Negro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Negro to free him from his guilt.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. stood for equality and peace for African-Americans and the socially disadvantaged. The local community honors his legacy annually and will continue to have the faith that we can unite as one and cultivate better relationships with one another. The Fayetteville Cumberland County Ministerial Council presents the 24th annual MLK Prayer Breakfast and the 60th anniversary of service to the community on Monday, Jan. 16, at 8 a.m. at the Crown Exhibition Center.

“What will be prominent at the breakfast and the worship service is this is our 60th year of service to the community and we believe that it is a milestone that is worthy and I think it will be a surprise that we have existed as an organization that long,” said Dr. Maxie Dobson, vice president of the Fayetteville Cumberland County Ministerial Council. “It is also special to take a moment and reflect as to why we have the great gathering that we do each year and to acknowledge the benefits we still enjoy because of a great person, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Dobson added that the breakfast is sponsored annually by 75 percent of recurring sponsors and that speaks to the recognition that the community at large has for this event.

The theme of this year is to highlight the 60 years of service the Ministerial Council has given to the community. As for their service 60 years ago versus now, the areas of engagement differ. “I’ve heard stories about the Ministerial Council being very much involved in the Civil Rights movement many years ago,” said Dobson. “I think the Ministerial Council is looked upon, in terms of the face of community, the organization to come to if there is a response needed from the community on some particular subject matter because we still have that kind of statute.”

The program entails singing, posting of the colors by students and a keynote speaker. The keynote speaker of the MLK breakfast is Dr. Otis McMillan, director of Bureau of World Evangelism A. M. E. Zion. There will be a worship service on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 5 p.m. at Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church with host pastor Dr. Christoppher Stackhouse. The keynote speaker for the MLK worship service is Dr. Cureton Johnson of First Missionary Baptist Church. “One of the special things that is made possible each year is the ten $1,000 scholarships that we give to high school seniors that are planning on going to college,” said Dobson. “We are able to do this annually because of the community watch support.” Dobson added this is another component of the event that the community at large can appreciate and it will be highlighted at the breakfast.

“I believe we are the biggest gathering for this event in the state,” said Dobson. “We look forward to seeing everyone at the event.” Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 at the door. For more information call 624-7785.

Other local events to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Spring Lake’s Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast at Spring Lake Community Center. Jan.13, 8 a.m. 
MLK Parade Downtown Fayetteville (will start at MLK Park). Jan. 14. 12 – 1 p.m. 
MLK Birthday Commemoration. Jan. 16. 11:30 a.m. Iron Mike Conference Center on Fort Bragg

Martin Luther King Holiday Timeline

1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Rep. John Conyers introduces legislation for federal holiday to commemorate King.

1973 Illinois is first state to adopt MLK Day as a state holiday.

1983 Congress passes legislation creating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

1986 Federal Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday goes into effect.

1987 Arizona governor Evan Mecham rescinds MLK Day as his first act in office, setting off a boycott of the state.

1989 State MLK holiday adopted in 44 states.

1991 The NFL moves the 1993 Super Bowl site from Phoenix, Arizona to Pasedena, California because of the MLK Day boycott.

1992 Arizona citizens vote to enact MLK Day.

1993 For the first time, MLK Day is held in some form in all 50 states.

1999 New Hampshire becomes the last state to adopt MLK Day as a paid state holiday replacing its optional Civil Rights Day.

2000 Utah becomes the last state to recognize MLK Day by name renaming its Human Rights Day state holiday to Martin Luther King, Jr Day. 

South Carolina becomes the last state to make MLK Day a paid holiday for all state
employees. Until now, employees could choose between celebrating it or one of three Confederate-related holidays.

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