The Laurel High ROTC marches in the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Laurel.

Martin Luther King Jr. events

Friday, Jan. 7: Opening Ceremony at Laurel High School at 9 a.m.

Saturday, Jan. 8: Scholarship banquet at Sanderson Farm corporate headquarters on Flynt Road at 6 p.m.

Jan. 15: 5K healthy you walk/run at Laurel High School stadium. Registration starts at 7 a.m. and run begins at 8 a.m.

Jan. 15: Annual MLK Day Parade.

Jan. 16: Memorial service at Morning Star Baptist Church at 6 p.m.

Jan. 17: Prayer Breakfast at Morning Star Baptist Church at 8 a.m.


For 2022, the MLK Community Development Corporation will host its annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on the theme of “The Color of Unity,” starting on Friday.

“This event is for everyone, not just one side of the tracks,” said Rev. Jerry James, MLK CDC chairman. “This celebration started in 1986 after former President Ronald Reagan signed the bill to make his birthday a national holiday. Laurel was one of the first cities to celebrate.”

The opening ceremony begins at 9 a.m. at Laurel High School on Friday, followed by the annual scholarship banquet at 6 p.m. Saturday at Sander- son Farms corporate headquarters on Flynt Road. Four high school seniors will receive $1,000 schol- arships at the ceremony with Mississippi Depart- ment of Transportation Central District Commissioner Willie Simmons delivering the keynote address, James said.

“Because of the new variant, we have cut down to 100 guests for the banquet,” James said. “We want to keep everyone safe and make sure we don’t spread any illness.”

Although the event was rained out the two previous years, on Saturday, Jan. 15, the next event will include the MLK Day Unity Walk/Run 5K for Health at 8 a.m. The 5K is for all ages with registration beginning at 7 a.m. and the run at 8 a.m., starting at Laurel High School Stadium. The cost to participate is $10 per person.

“This will be the first year we get to run it,” James said. “We are co-sponsored by SCRMC and will have COVID testing, hydration station and blood pressure testing at the 5K.”

After the 5K, the annual MLK Day parade will take place the same day. A memorial service is set for 6 p.m. Jan. 16 at Morning Star Baptist Church followed by a prayer breakfast at 8 a.m. Jan. 17. Dr. King spoke at St.

Paul Methodist Church on March 19, 1968, to rally support for the Poor People’s March on Washington against economic injustice as one of his last stops before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at a Memphis hotel. The Poor People’s march continued after his death and reached Washington on May 12, 1968. During the MLK CDC’s celebration week, a wreath will be laid at St. Paul Methodist Church in Dr. King’s memory.

This year’s theme is based on Dr. King’s quote:

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the stateless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

“We have a great city and a great community, and I want to thank everyone who helped this happen, including Sanderson Farms, Mississippi Power, University of Southern Mississippi and many others,” James said.

There will be a souvenir bulletin with ad space available for purchase at $175 for a full page with color, $150 for a black and white ad full page or $85 for a half-page ad. For more information contact 601-480-1954.

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