Although it has been almost 45 years since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the message he gave and the things he accomplished are still being celebrated.
This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be on Monday, Jan. 16. According to an article on martinlutherking.org, the national holiday was signed into law in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, 15 years after King's death, though the day was not widely celebrated until many years later.
Locally, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being celebrated in many different ways.
Springfield Baptist Church is holding teach-in classes, where people of all ages can learn about Martin Luther King Jr. and learn how they can emulate what his dream is. The classes will be held on Monday, Jan. 16. A definite time has not been set yet, but Geraldine Reed, who is in charge of organizing the classes, said they always hold them around 9 or 10 a.m.
Reed said they have been holding these classes for many years. She said it will start with a little program, usually opening with the famous "I have a dream" speech shown in the main worship area of the church. After that, the group will break up into smaller classes, from kindergarten age to adult.
"The classes will talk about Martin Luther King Jr. and the purpose of everything he did and where do we go from here," Reed said.
The adult class will focus on the principles of Martin Luther King Jr. and discuss issues that pertain to what he was trying to address while he was alive and how, as Americans, they can continue to live out the dream he had.
The youth will discuss non-violence methods, including what Gandhi taught King, and how they can use that in their everyday lives and in school. Reed said classes will try to zero in on some of the issues children have in the classroom. Lower level children will see a movie, create things and do worksheets. Children around the fifth-grade level will learn some of the history of King and do word searches and other things that relate primarily to school.
Vanderhorst CME Church will hold a Martin Luther King Jr. banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 6 p.m. in the church's fellowship hall. The speaker will be Dr. Jeffery Thomas of Trinity CME church in Augusta. He has traveled extensively across the country as a conference speaker and an advocate for higher education.
Thomas has worked at numerous churches including Raise Bridge CME church in Waynesboro and Westwood United Methodist Church and the Holman United Methodist Church, both in Los Angeles.
Tickets are available for the banquet from any member of the Vanderhorst CME Church.
Vanderhorst will also have Martin Luther King Day activities and a guest speaker on Monday, Jan. 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for ages five to adult.
The speaker will be Nolan Smith, the assistant chief investigator and legal redress manager with the NAACP branch in Atlanta. At the event, he will work with both youth and adults.
There will be a march in Warren County on Monday, Jan. 16. The line-up will be at the Community Service Building at 10 a.m. The marchers will walk one time around the Warren County Courthouse, and then go upstairs for a Martin Luther King Day program that will be held in the courtroom. The guest speaker for the program will be the Rev. Roscoe Perry, of First Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Appling.
A Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade will be held in Augusta on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 1 p.m. The parade is held by the Augusta branch of the NAACP. The parade line up will be at 11 a.m. at the Dyess Park Community Center, located at 902 James Brown Blvd. The parade will travel south on James Brown Boulevard, west onto Wrightsboro Road, north onto Augusta Avenue, east onto Laney-Walker Boulevard, north onto 11th Street and east onto D'Antignac Street.
Paine College will hold a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on Friday, Jan. 13, at noon. The celebration will take place in the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel at Paine College with guest speaker Sylvia Russell. There is no cost to attend.