Statement from Chair
It gives me great pleasure to serve as the 2018 Chairman of the Committee for King, and I welcome you to the largest Dr. Martin Luther King celebration in the State of Mississippi. Our celebration consists of four (4) separate events, beginning with an extraordinary exhibition of talent during the “Apollo Night” showcase on Friday evening and continuing with a “Black-Tie” Banquet on Saturday evening. On Sunday afternoon, our Commemorative Service is held. Then, on Monday, the celebration culminates with a motorcade parade and MLK Birthday Celebration.
In 1986, the Committee for King began hosting and co-hosting the MLK events and, over the years, several individuals have served as Chairperson. This year marks the 22nd year that I have served as Chairperson and, though I have been blessed with each year of service, it is time for me to relinquish the gavel. However, I am confident that the next individual to assume this role will take the Committee for King organization to higher grounds.
The 2018 Commemorative Service program is especially important to me because our highest award, the Drum Major Award, is being received by one of my dear friends, Dr. Donald Cole of the University of Mississippi. Very few individuals I know are more deserving of this award, and I publically salute and congratulate Dr. Cole for all that he has done to advance the causes advocated and promoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In closing, I want to thank the Mayor, Tupelo Public School District, Tupelo City employees, corporate sponsors, church sponsors, ad donors and patrons for your continued support. I especially want to thank my wife for all of her invaluable work in making the 2018 MLK services the best of what this community has to offer. Truly, these services would not be what they are but for her tireless efforts.
Previous Statement from Chair
During the past year, the Committee for King worked diligently and tirelessly to make this 2015 4-day celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the best ever. From Apollo Night on Friday until the culmination of the Holiday Services on Monday, you will be amazed, energized, motivated, and inspired by the various performers and guest speakers!
Utilizing the theme of “The Power of Diversity”, every speaker can attest to the impact diversity has made in their lives, as well as the lives of others and entire communities. Sean Suggs, Vice President of Administration at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi, Inc., could possibly tell you how, as an African-American, the power of diversity and preparation have propelled him into the top position at the Toyota plant in Blue Springs, MS. He can share with you how the continued success of this facility, under his leadership, has changed the economic status of more than 2,000 employees, their families and their communities. This has had positive spillover effects throughout Northeast Mississippi.
Our Commemorative Service speaker, Bishop James Swanson, Sr., Episcopal Leader of the Mississippi Conference for The United Methodist Church, could let us know how the power of diversity and God’s Grace and Direction have placed him into this position. A special “Thank You” to the many members of The United Methodist Church who are supporting Bishop Swanson on Sunday!
Pastor Johnathan Bass could tell us on Monday how the power of diversity continues to open doors and opportunities for his ministry. As pastor of one of the faster growing churches in the area, he delivers the gospel message to all, regardless of race, gender, religion or creed.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 ends with…”and a threefold cord is not quickly broken”. Within Northeast MS, we are blessed with many races and ethnic groups. Working together – utilizing the Power of Diversity, we can greatly impact our economy, our educational system, our healthcare system, and strengthen interpersonal relationships among all races for the good.
This year, we also reminisce and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the infamous March on Selma. Fifty years later, our youth and all ages can learn of this historic event with the showing of the movie, “Selma”. Events of this magnitude should be our “school masters” to move us forward without mistakes that were made in the past.
The accomplishments and struggles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are still relevant today. As we celebrate and honor his works, we, too, can move forward, seeking love, compassion, respect and racial harmony for all people. Keep the Dream alive!
Thank you for continuing to make this the largest celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy within the State. Your corporate sponsorships, church packets, ads, ticket sales and donations are appreciated so much, allowing us to have only one fee-based event. Congratulations to the Committee for King, the City of Tupelo, Tupelo 2000 and Modern Beauticians for sponsoring the biggest and best celebrations ever!
“The Committee For King,” Zell Long, Chair