MLK march

A procession of marchers makes its way around The Square in downtown Athens during a previous march honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Local groups will again celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. next week, and the public is invited to attend.

The civil rights leader would have celebrated his 91st birthday on Jan. 15 had he not been slain in Memphis in 1968. Despite his death more than a half-century ago, King remains the most celebrated figure from the civil rights movement.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a federal holiday in 1986. It is celebrated as Robert E. Lee/Martin Luther King Birthday in Alabama.

The Limestone County NAACP will host its 15th annual celebration of King beginning 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 20, with a unity march. Participants should be at The Square in Athens at 8:45. The march will proceed to the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives on Pryor Street, previously known as the Limestone County Event Center.

The NAACP's program will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the veterans museum. Students who entered the annual essay and art contest will be featured. Essay winners will read their essays, and art contest entries will be displayed. The program will also feature music and a presentation of awards.

Monday is the deadline to submit entries for the contest. Essays can be emailed to or hand-delivered to Kim Glaze at Mayor Ronnie Marks’ office at Athens City Hall.

Students in grades 2-12 who attend Athens or Limestone County schools may enter the contest. Home-schooled children are also encouraged to participate. Each essay will be judged on clarity, content, grammar and how well the theme is developed based on the writer’s age. Art will be judged on creativity of theme expression and artistic skill based on the student’s chosen medium.

Visit for a complete list of guidelines and rules. For more information, call Benard Simelton at 256-426-6406 or 256-444-1300.

Calhoun program

On Jan. 23, Calhoun Community College will host its annual program, hosted by the college's Black Students Alliance. The program will begin at 11 a.m. in the Advanced Technology Center on the Decatur campus. The program is free. Lunch will be provided.

The featured speaker for this year's program is the Rev. Dr. Willie D. McClung, pastor of Holt Street Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery.

Recently celebrating its 110th anniversary, the church reflected on Monday, Dec. 5, 1955, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., newly elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, lead 5,000 people who gathered at Holt Street Baptist Church for a mass meeting that was sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat on a bus.

This mass meeting, which was held in the church, launched the Montgomery bus boycott. To honor its rich history, the word memorial was added to the church’s name and it was identified as the birthplace of the Montgomery bus boycott.

Visit for more information about the event.

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