Local celebrations of the life and impact of Martin Luther King Jr. are set for Sunday and Monday at several locations in the region.
The events planned for Zebulon begin with a special concert at Wakefield Missionary Baptist Church Sunday at 3 p.m. The church is located at 809 Proctor St.
The annual breakfast, featuring music by the Zebulon First Baptist Church choir and a keynote speech by Merry Grove Baptist pastor Vernis Wright, will be held Monday, Jan. 18 in the Zebulon Baptist Church fellowship hall starting at 7 a.m. Zebulon Baptist is located at 400 N. Arendell Ave.
“I know it’s early in the morning, at 7 o’clock, but it’s a good event for us here in Zebulon,” said Zebulon MLK Jr. event chair Annie Moore.
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Moore helped start Zebulon’s MLK Jr. Day events in 2007 in concurrence with the town’s centennial celebration, and this is the 10th year they have been held.
“That to me means people want to have a program here,” Moore said. “People are telling me to keep this going because it is something that we can remember here in Zebulon. I enjoy doing it because I see where people like to come together for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.”
Donations from local churches, groups, individuals and the town help feed breakfast to the crowd during the program that typically meets the space’s capacity of about 270 people.
“People who live here in Zebulon don’t have to go out to Raleigh and Durham – and people do come out,” Moore said. “I’m so thankful to Wakefield and Zebulon Baptist for letting us come in there and do this.”
Those planning to attend the breakfast in Zebulon will need a free ticket, and can get one while they last by contacting Moore at 919-269-9772.
The Riley Hill community will also celebrate the holiday with their annual breakfast at Riley Hill Baptist Church on Monday, at 8 a.m. The church is located at 6101 Riley Hill Road in Wendell.
The speaker for that event will be Dr. Cornelius E. Battle Sr., the pastor of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Durham. Kyrese Washington, an ambitious 15-year-old flute player, will provide music.
Tickets for the Riley Hill event cost $5 and can be acquired by calling the church office at 919-365-5277 or calling Sharon Barrow at 919-365-6875.
The Riley Hill observance is newer than its Zebulon counterpart, but the event usually draws a packed house as well. Breakfast is served by the church’s youth group.
King died in 1968 in Memphis, Tenn., shot down by an assassin on a hotel balcony. More than any other person, King’s policies of peaceful protest led leaders in Congress to pass sweeping civil rights legislation that moved the country away from segregationist laws and policies. He was born, Jan. 15, 1929. Americans have observed a national holiday to remember King since 1986.