Celebrate MLK at East End Baptist

Published 9:17 pm Wednesday, January 15, 2020

In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made a historic visit to Peanut Park in Suffolk, where he spoke to an estimated 7,000 people.

On Monday, hundreds will gather at East End Baptist Church for the annual Suffolk City-wide Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, which will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Dr. King’s legacy, including his time in Suffolk.

The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. and will have speeches, choir performances of praise and worship songs, and award presentations. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Leroy Hill Jr., senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Portsmouth.

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According to the Rev. David Wade, pastor of youth and discipleship at East End Baptist Church, the “Suffolk Community Award” will be presented at the event to an individual who has done “stellar community work,” while the “I Have A Dream Award” will be presented to a nonprofit organization that “does great work in the community.”

Awards will also be presented to winners of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest, which was open to sixth- through 12th-grade students in Suffolk Public Schools, and held by the Suffolk City-wide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee.

The essay contest encourages middle and high school students to consider Dr. King’s dream and legacy as they apply his principles to society today, according to the essay contest form. The three top winners will be awarded at the Monday ceremony, and the first-place winner will read his or her essay at the event.

The prompt this year reads as follows: “Dr. King once said, ‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.’

“How can Martin Luther King Jr.’s goal of true education (intelligence plus character) make a positive impact in the community? What are three specific ideas that can make a positive impact in your own community that you are able to carry out as a youth?”

The celebration will be held Monday and begin at 10 a.m. in East End Baptist Church, 1056 Portsmouth Blvd. For questions, call the East End Baptist Church office at 539-3324 and ask for Rev. David Wade.