MLK Dream Weekend



I want to thank you and the MLK Dream Weekend Executive Board for keeping the MLK dream alive in our area. The entire weekend was very encouraging, eye opening and fun! During the banquet with my family, my grandchildren and I were so proud they had the opportunity to be involved. This year I was… Read More


Sharon Clinkscales

January 6th, 2011

Keeping King’s Dream Alive Remains Important by Dr. Judith Prince

On Tuesday, February 1, 2005, I was sitting on the front row in council chambers as the Greenville County Council approved Martin Luther King Day. I will forever remember the unbearable tension created by years of disappointment, spontaneously leaping in the air when approval was certain, the crowd erupting in a loud roar, and, finally, feelings of incredible joy.

By 2005, Martin Luther King, Jr. had long been my hero. I revere Martin Luther King, Jr. for his non-violence, his vision of a world without racial prejudice, his focus on eliminating poverty, his views on leadership and education, and much more.

As Dr. King stated in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Sweden in 1964, “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon… which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.” I signed a covenant of non-violence many years ago, which I consider the first transformation that Martin Luther King, Jr. brought to my own life.

King believed, “All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” His view of the interrelatedness of human existence is true today more than ever. This “web of mutuality” creates energy for service to others. It is the source of my passion for prosperity for all through education.

I learned about servant leadership from Martin Luther King, Jr.  King insisted “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verbs agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

It has been nearly 43 years since Dr. King left us. Looking back, it is hard to imagine our community without the changes brought by Martin Luther King, Jr. Did we actually live in a place with discriminatory voting practices, where buses were segregated, where restaurants refused to serve African Americans, where schools, swimming pools, theaters, churches, and libraries were segregated?

A  holiday to celebrate MLK’s legacy should have great significance, however, as time passes, there are many in our community who do not know about or no longer remember or celebrate MLK’s legacy.

January 17, 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. This milestone is a perfect opportunity for Greenville to recommit to honoring Dr. King’s legacy by attending the Martin Luther King Diversity Banquet on Friday, January 14, 2011, at the Carolina First Center.

The MLK Diversity Banquet is part of MLK Dream Weekend, a series of events, organized by Pastor Curtis Johnson of Valley Brook Outreach Baptist Church and Dr. Phillip Baldwin of Bethlehem Baptist Church. This community-wide celebration is dedicated to igniting the spirit of inclusiveness in the community and reenergizing discussions about King’s message of hope, healing, and service.

Just as Reverend King wanted the base of his movement to be as broad as possible, broad-based participation in the MLK Diversity Weekend has always been the goal. As a cross-section of the community helped bring the MLK holiday to Greenville, a cross-section should participate in commemorating Martin Luther King’s life and legacy. This has never been an African American only event.

The MLK Dream Weekend planning committee wants to increase the number of young people, international citizens, and ethnic and faith groups who attend the diversity banquet. The speaker for the banquet, Coach Herman Boone, epitomizes King’s “network of mutuality,” as he was able to build trusting relationships in the first season of a racially integrated football team.

Coach Boone was the subject of the Disney movie, Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington. Based on actual events in 1971 in Virginia in which a black and white high school were closed and students were sent to T.C. Williams High School under federal mandate to integrate, Remember the Titans presents the year as seen through the eyes of the football team as they become the unifying symbol for the school and community.

Most importantly, participation in MLK Dream Weekend events develops ongoing, long-term relationships that will benefit the community, extending well beyond an annual celebration.

Beginning with this community wide celebration, let this be the year that all of us in Greenville rededicate ourselves to keeping Martin Luther King’s dream alive!

Tickets for the Diversity Banquet can be purchased at Bethlehem Baptist Church, BJ’s Music, Greenville County Human Relations Commission, and Valley Brook Outreach Baptist Church. For information on events and to purchase tickets through PayPal, go to Tickets are $60 each or $550 for a table of 10.

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