The actions of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) brought about significant changes in the lives of all Americans. Therefore the MLK Celebration Committee, representing the Greater Wilmington area and Southeastern North Carolina, seek to pay homage to an American hero through educational seminars, religion events, art and culture events, displays and social gatherings which enhance the quality of life in our communities.
The MLK, Jr Celebration Committee was founded to fill a void in our community. So sponsoring this week of events perfectly fits our mission and helps to build our capacity to do even more to address and improve racial relations, community and visibility of the positive achievements and contributions of African Americans throughout our history. We seek to incorporate health and wellness concerns in our annual celebration.
Wilmington is a particularly important place to fully commemorate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because of the continuing impact of the 1898 coup d’etat, overthrowing an elected African Americans government, which radically disenfranchised African Americans here. These actions and inactions costed many their lives and many more their rightfully owned land. In addition, the heroic efforts of the Wilmington Ten, who fought tirelessly to desegregate the local schools, must be remembered. A little known fact is that Dr. King was due to arrive in Wilmington, NC but postponed his arrival to assist striking sanitation workers with their issue in Memphis, Tennessee where he met his untimely demise.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a well known and accepted national hero, and his birthday is an opportunity to bring people together and help everyone again understand the context and history surrounding his life from the perspective of Southeastern North Carolina. It is our hope to be able to build from this week of events to other events which allow us to more fully commemorate additional important figures and events in African American history in this area.