Mt. Calvary Baptist Church to celebrate life of MLK

NILES — To remember the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Niles church will host a community celebration and breakfast.

Mt. Calvary Baptist Church will host The Niles Community Celebrates Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21 at 601 Ferry St. The event is free and open to the public. There will be a breakfast and multiple city leaders addressing the crowd, including Mayor Nick Shelton.

Martin Luther King Day was officially observed in 1986 after then-President Ronald Regan signed a bill to initiate it.

Event organizer Jeanette Pearson said a hearty breakfast, coupled with a good message often helps to bring everyone together. She said she hopes to see people from the community attend and remember King’s life. 

“It’s not just for the youth. It is to remind us how far we have actually come,” Pearson said. “I got to think back to all the things they went through to get me to where I am today.”

Charlie McAfee, a city council member who helped to organize the event, described how she has come across children who are unaware of the civil rights leader.

“They did not even realize who he was,” McAfee said. “We have got to teach our children. It’s a time to look back and reflect and think about your heritage, where you came from and who helped you along the way.”

Beverly Woodson, who is also helping to organize the event, agreed.

“The history is there,” Woodson said. “We have to make sure they can teach that history and pass it on.”

Woodson said she hopes the event can encourage more discussion in the community about diversity. Late last year, Woodson helped to start an organization called H.O.P.E. that seeks to do this. 

For those who attend the event Monday, Pearson said she hopes it is a reminder of how King’s work impacts people today.

“For me, a community breakfast [is an opportunity] to have all people, black, white purple whatever, [come together] and celebrate something that a man paved the way for us to do,” Pearson said.

McAfee said it is also a reminder of the power one person has to make a difference.

“If one man can change a nation, what can one town do?” McAfee said.

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