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Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration to honor his legacy of service

by UofL Today last modified Jan 07, 2010 12:57 PM

Kentucky African Americans who made significant contributions to the state, country and world will be honored during a UofL commemoration for Martin Luther King Jr. at 1 p.m., Monday, Jan. 18, on Belknap Campus.

Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration to honor his legacy of service

Moneta Sleet won a Pulitzer Prize for this photo of Coretta Scott King.

Admission is free.

Staged at The Playhouse in Freedom Park, on Cardinal Avenue between Second and Third Streets, the program will feature impersonations of people who were first in their fields and other categories in a "Kentucky Black History on Parade."

Area students will personify Kentucky Sen. Georgia Davis Powers, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Moneta Sleet, Brown-Forman chemist Elmer Lucille Allen, civic leader Mae Street Kidd, opera star Todd Duncan, Girl Scout leader Murray Atkins Walls, Mammoth Cave explorer Stephen Bishop, Appalachian poet Effie Waller Smith and Mother of the Year Emma C. Clement, among others.

The African American Theatre Program (AATP) in the Theatre Arts Department and the Office of Business Affairs sponsor the program.

"I encourage parents to bring their children to learn this positive history of how these pioneers endured hardships to help others," said Deana Thomas, director of the AATP program. "Just as King served as a great example of giving, these heroes make us proud of their service and our heritage."

Also on the program will be the presentation of the first M.L. King Service Award for individuals who serve others beyond the call of duty. Conferred posthumously to Thomas Smith, who worked many years in UofL's Physical Plant Department, the award will be given annually.

Thomas said that Smith was always a ready volunteer. Among his actions, he helped make it safe for theater students to reach rehearsals during last year's ice storm.

Larry Owsley, vice president of Business Affairs, will present a history of Freedom Park and an update on its development. There also will  be music with Troy Bell and the SOS singers, dancing and light refreshments.

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