Beginning at 11 a.m. on Jan. 18, a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day commemorative march, community lunch, and celebration will take place in Lewisburg. The march will be from the Greenbrier County Courthouse to the Lewisburg United Methodist Church via Washington Street. Right after the march, a free community lunch catered by The Bakery will be served.
At 12:30 p.m. there will be an hour-and-a-half-long program in the church sanctuary to celebrate Dr. King’s accomplishments and vision. Following that, last November’s Summit on Race Matters: Continuing Conversations will reconvene with all interested persons for about 45 minutes to make plans for the future.
Before the march begins at the courthouse, the mayor’s proclamation of Lewisburg’s Martin Luther King week will be read, an invocation will be delivered, and Steve Rutledge will give an oration to inspire the marchers.
The general theme for this year’s celebration is “Reconciliation,” as expressed in many Martin Luther King speeches promoting the “reconciliation and creation of the beloved community.” Essays were written by students at Greenbrier Episcopal School, Frankford Elementary School, and Lewisburg Elementary School. Some of the essays will be read by the students as a part of the program. Art works created by students of Rainelle and Crichton Elementary Schools will be on display.
The keynote speakers will be Greg Wittkamper of Monroe County and Jim Auchmutley, author of the book “The Class of ’65: A Student, a Divided Town, and the Long Road to Forgiveness” about Wittkamper’s experiences at Koinonia Farm in Georgia and as an Americus High School student supporting desegregation despite being persecuted by fellow students. Auchmutley and Wittkamper were featured in the Lewisburg Literary Festival last summer.
The African Drum Ensemble of the Greenbrier Academy for Girls in Pence Springs will perform as a prelude to the program at the church. There will be a presentation by High Rocks Academy, a frequent participant in the celebration program.
Questions about the event may be directed to Larry Davis at 304-645-6919. Donations in support of the Martin Luther King Day Celebration may be made at the event or mailed to the MLK Committee c/o Child Youth Advocacy Center at 212 W. Washington Street, Lewisburg, WV 24901.