01/12/11 — Mount Olive to celebrate King's legacy at Sunday service

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Mount Olive to celebrate King's legacy at Sunday service

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on January 12, 2011 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Carver Alumni Association will honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday at Northeast Chapel Free Will Baptist Church.

The annual event, set for 4 p.m. at the church, will also shine a spotlight on the younger members of the community, organizer Linda Oliver said.

"We're focusing more on the youth this year to let them share with us their dream and how they made it come true," she said.

Imari Norris, director of teen pregnancy prevention and self-esteem boosting program PrimaDonna, will present the keynote address during the ceremony.

PrimaDonna, an acronym for Providing Refuge to Intermediate and Maturing Adolescents in order to Determine Outlooks Necessary to Navigate in tomorrow's America, serves as an after-school program for about 40 young girls in Wayne County, and recently expanded to the Westhaven community.

Many community churches were invited to attend the event, Ms. Oliver said.

Another important aspect of the association's event will honor the assassinated civil rights leader's memory by encouraging people to continue his legacy of service to others.

"We're also going to focus on, it's not a day off. It's a day of service," Ms. Oliver said.

Whether it's providing a meal for the homeless, volunteering through a professional office or just reaffirming non-violence, using the day off of work as a day to give back is one of the best ways to honor King Jr.'s legacy, no matter what race you are, she said.

"This is black and white, it's not black or white," Ms. Oliver said.

Youth group Sounds of Favor from Mount Gilead Baptist Church will provide music for the event, with Angel Musgrave serving as mistress of ceremonies and the Rev. Stephen Wicks of the Mount Olive Presbyterian Church reading the scripture. Carver Alumni Association representative Al Southerland will also take part in the ceremony, as will Ernestine Washington and Danny King.

The Carver Alumni Association will also partner with the town of Mount Olive to present a special Black History Month celebration the last Saturday in February.

The town offices will be closed Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Other local events are also gearing up to celebrate February as Black History Month.

The 501(c)3 non-profit Unity Organization of Mount Olive seeks pastors, reverends and other church officials to participate in the upcoming 2011 Black History Parade.

"We are extending an invitation to all clergy in the community and surrounding counties to participate/march in the 2011 Black History Parade," according to a release by Unity organizers.

The group hopes to encourage greater participation this year from any members of church associations and conferences, Vicky Darden said.

The parade will be broadcast live on television and recorded for future broadcasting. The previous two Black History Parades in Mount Olive drew some of the largest parade crowds in the town's recent history. The 2009 parade attracted more than 3,000 people, while an estimated 4,500 people attended the 2010 parade. The North Carolina Central University Band and the Marine Corps Band from Jacksonville participated, as did the Wells-Fargo stagecoach.

Organizers expect this year's parade will also be a largely attended event.

The Unity Organization is in talks with the town to potentially waive fees associated with the parade.

For more information or to join the parade, contact Sheila Oates at 635-3376, Ricky Fair at 344-9944 or Vicky Darden at 658-3961.

Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. declared February Black History Month in Mount Olive, and additionally declared Feb. 26 Black History Day for the town.

The third annual Black History Parade is scheduled for Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. in Mount Olive.