By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The 11th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration hosted by St. Mark MB Church moved to the campus of the church for the first time in several years.
The 2018 event marked the first celebration under new Pastor E. Allen Redwell Jr.
“So once again we lift our heads high as we pause this 15th day of January 2018 to say in the words of one of America’s greatest singer/songwriters of our times, Mr. Steve Wonder, “Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Happy Birthday to you,” Redwell said.
Redwell and members welcomed special guests and all coming to celebrate the MLK holiday. Invocation was delivered by Pastor E. Deasoui George Sr., Pastor Emeritus — Greater New Light Baptist Church in Pomona, Calif.
Then it was time for the St. Mark United Voices Choir to perform its first song of the day. The stage went from sounds to visual when Jalynn Hayslett delivered a tribute dance in honor of King.
Next up to the microphone were four members of the St. Mark Ambassadors for Christ Ministry reading excerpts of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
To further honor King and commentate on the current social climate of America was guest speaker Rev. Earle J. Fisher of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Memphis. Fisher’s theme was “Point of No Return.”
Fisher related the passage of Luke 4: 16-19 to social injustices.
Then event coordinator Charlotte Fields closed out the program by reading the biographies of the three MLK Community Service Awards, Pastor Fred Bailey, Michael Scruggs and Charlotte Smith.
Bailey, a native of Hollandale, Miss., is a retired Army Veteran with more than 22 years of service. He is also a retiree of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools. He currently volunteers at Millington Municipal Schools and Shelby County Schools and he is president of the Jones Phillips Civic Club.
Scruggs is known nationally for saying, “I am No. 1.” That’s the motto of Scruggs’ students and mentorees to reach their greatness. Scruggs methods have gain him recognition from Good Morning America, CNN, CBS and Ellen DeGeneres. He has mentored many area youth, as well as provided thousands of dollars of supplies and extended several hours of community service to children and families through the organization “Friends Helping Friends.”
Smith is currently a volunteer in the Woodstock community. She is a graduate of Woodstock High School and later earned her BS from LeMoyne Owen College and her Masters from then Memphis State University. Smith worked 40 years in Shelby County Schools. She is still home taking care of Woodstock.
By Thomas Sellers Jr.