Celebrating King day

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Two area organizations paid tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this past Saturday and Monday.

On Saturday, the Junior Garden Heritage Club of McKenzie hosted a march and program in Georgiana to celebrate the life of King. The march began at 11:30 a.m. at Robert L. Austin Elementary School and was led by Adrian Johnson, Jeremy Peagler, Candra Johnson and Retha Reed. Other participants of the march included the Professional Women's Club, the Long Creek Drill Team, Second Baptist Church and Friendship Baptist Church.

The program, held at Austin Elementary, featured guest speaker Joann Bland of the Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Ala.

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Entertainment at the program included a solo by Candra Johnson, music by the Christian Travelers, the Belmont Choir, and a performance by the Long Creek Drill Team.

The Junior Garland Heritage Club also recognized several members of the community who have given both time and energy to various projects. Those recognized included Paul Harding, Joann Tillmon and Joann Bland.

On Monday, the Butler County Civic League sponsored a breakfast at Dunbar Activity Center.

Nearly 400 people attended the breakfast and ceremony which featured guest speaker Rev. D. B. Bennett of King Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery.

Bennett spoke on the subject of diligence and its importance in life and in God's ministry.

Quoting the Old Testament King Solomon in Proverbs, Bennett said "Show me a man of diligence, and I'll show you a man who one day will stand with kings."

Bennett applied this scripture to life and said that individuals should be diligent in their careers, relationships and spiritual life.

Bennett said that if it were not for diligent individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, we would not be where we are today.

Several area church groups participated in the event and performances were executed by the gospel singing group Exhalt and the praise dancers of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Lewis and Donavan Gulley of Greenville and the Coleman Family of St. Paul Baptist Church sang during the ceremony.

Minister John Hall of the First Assembly of God , Rev. J. O. Meeks of Friendship Baptist and Rev. Clifford Tillman of Long Creek Baptist Church all participated in the event. Steve Collins of Bethlehem Baptist Church sang a solo and Rev. Abbie Jackson of St. John AME Zion Church gave the benediction.

George Cook, chairman of the Butler County Civic League said he felt the program went well with no problems to speak of.

"I think everything went really well and there were no drawbacks whatsoever," she said. "I have no complaints and feel it went really well."

Cook said the program has expanded each year and he feels it will continue to grow and be an important event for Butler County.

"It appears to grow every year," Cook said. "I think we had probably 550 people there."

Cook's wife, Beulah Cook, said she felt there were some weaknesses in the event but that the event went well.

"I think everything went pretty well," Cook said. "We had some weak areas, but overall I think everything went pretty well."

The Butler County Civic League has been hosting the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration for several years.