01/19/09 — More than 100 gather for Mount Olive's MLK celebration

View Archive

More than 100 gather for Mount Olive's MLK celebration

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on January 19, 2009 1:46 PM

Full Size


State Sen.-elect Don Davis speaks Sunday afternoon at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. observance at Payne Temple AME Zion Church in Mount Olive.

MOUNT OLIVE -- More than 100 community members and local government officials gathered Sunday at the Payne Temple AME Zion Church in Mount Olive to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"We are standing together. We've come with a purpose," said featured speaker Don Davis, of Snow Hill a newly elected state senator. "Everyone was calling for change in 2008, which means 2009 must be the moment of truth."

Davis, District 5's first black senator, talked about his own childhood to illustrate his message of showing up to the important moments and challenges in life.

"Whatever my life, God has taught me how to sing," Davis said. "It took the past for me to understand the words of the song."

But it's not about the past, he said.

"Dr. King understood the importance of showing up," Davis said. "I suggest that this is the time that Dr. King worked for."

The significance of the day and the historical meaning of the upcoming presidential inauguration were major themes for the day's speakers, which included the Rev. Sylvester Smith of Payne Temple AME Zion Church, the Rev. Steven Wicks of the Mount Olive Presbyterian Church, Mount Olive Mayor Ray McDonald Sr., Wayne County commission chairman Bud Gray and George Moye, chairman of the Wayne County school board.

"The message was clear," said Donald Faison, local president of the Carver Alumni Association. "We can't sit around and harp on what has happened in the past. The thing to do is step up and make a change."

The annual event was sponsored by the Carver High School Alumni and Friends Association, and featured music from the Shining Stars of Evangelical Fellowship Center and a solo performance by Ernestine Washington.

Diane Sellars presided over the celebration proceedings, which included an offering collection for the Carver Alumni Scholarship Fund. Nora C. Artis provided welcoming remarks, and the Rev. Louise Lee, chaplain of the Mount Olive Chapel, gave the benediction.

The Carver High School Alumni Association provided refreshments following the celebration.