Events help mark King’s birthday

A group of area residents are gearing up to commemorate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

This community camaraderie and celebration of the spirit of MLK offers pupils, parents, business leaders, city leaders, senior citizens and others a chance to come together to remember King for his visions of equality, racial justice and a nonviolent approach to social change.

As part of the local activities a children’s program is planned beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center in Steubenville. A birthday party in honor of King will combine fun and educational activities, according to organizers. The event also will feature the Martin Luther King Children’s Choir directed by Lisa Thomas and made up of 5-to-13-year-old youth from the community.

And a truly unique highlight of the annual community celebration, the MLK Memorial Mass Choir concert, is set to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at Second Baptist Church on Adams Street.

The talented choir is under the direction of Delores Wiggins, minister of music, and will offer Negro spirituals and hymns, contemporary gospel music and soul music.

The program will include a duet by Attilio Boni and Rita Kilmartin; musical selections by Juliette Hamilton and Cynthia Smith; recitations by Lela Poole and Ivy Kirtdoll; and mimes and performances by the Quinn AME Senior Choir, as well as other musical guests.

There’s also the 37th-annual Community Ecumenical Memorial Service planned at 6 p.m. Sunday at Second Baptist Church. The guest speaker at the service will be the Rev. Rick Sherrer, pastor of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Cincinnati. The event is sponsored by the Martin Luther King Association along with community partners Franciscan University of Steubenville and Eastern Gateway Community College.

We again salute the many local MLK Jr. Association members who give their time and efforts each year to perfect a program honoring King. Their dedication to the project is much appreciated and is clearly visible in each of the quality events presented.

Each year since 1983, the third Monday in January is marked as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s a chance to recall his speech, “I Have a Dream,” delivered 50 years ago this year on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and to recognize his many contributions to the civil rights movement.

We acknowledge the determination of our local volunteers, and we are fortunate to have the chance to take part in events that delve into the life of one of history’s greatest men.