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Twenty-sixth Annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration held in Columbia

A small but hardy group celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in Columbia on Jan. 21. The theme was “Keeping the dream of unity, tolerance and hope.”

The sky was sunny, the temperature was 26 degrees – up two degrees from the morning’s low – and a stiff northwest wind was blowing as Mark Mixon, vice president of Concerned Citizens of Tyrrell County, opened the ceremony on the courthouse lawn at 11 a.m.

Minister Louise Griswell of Salem Missionary Baptist Church prayed the invocation, then three dozen participants singing “We Shall Overcome” and led by the blue lights of a sheriff’s vehicle, marched to Madge L. VanHorne Auditorium.

There, Rev. Wilford Combs read Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church presented musical selections, Oliver Holley, county school superintendent, spoke, Rev. Joan Batson, Mt. Pleasant, spoke, Minister Elizabeth Spencer led the audience in “Litany for King,” Chris Baum led the mass choir in singing “Victory is Mine” and Minister Griswell pronounced the benediction.

Dr. King was born Jan. 15, 1929 and was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.

“The Concerned Citizens of Tyrrell County wishes to thank Tyrrell County Schools, all organizations, churches and community residents for today’s participation,” said Mixon. “Dr. King’s birthday-holiday represents a reminder of our continuing fight for justice and equality for all people.”

Other officers of the Concerned Citizens are Brenda Mixon, secretary; Joyce Sykes Fitch, acting secretary; and Victoria Barber, treasurer.

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