MLK events include presidential inauguration

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SALISBURY — Local residents who watched the presidential inauguration Monday said it was a fitting part of celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
“To me, the second term of the first historical black president is really inspiring,” said Salisbury resident Herlene Summers. “It was King’s dream.”
Her friend Alice Ricks agreed, saying she was excited to celebrate “two great black men” on the same day.
The Salisbury-Rowan Human Relations Council, which sponsored the day’s activities in honor of King, partnered with Fibrant to show a live broadcast of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration at the Salisbury Civic Center.
Summers and Ricks said they come every year to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day events, and it was a good idea to include a watch party this year for the presidential inauguration.
“Otherwise, we would have missed it, so it was good for them to combine it for us,” Ricks said.
Ricks, of Salisbury, was presented with a certificate Monday for winning an essay contest at the W. G. (Bill) Hefner Salisbury VA Medical Center. Her essay about what Martin Luther King Jr. means to her was chosen as the winner by an outside panel of judges.
The event at the civic center focused on a showcase of community talent, including performances by local musicians, poets and writers. Pastor Timothy Bates served as master of ceremonies.
It was the last in a series of events Monday in the 27th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebrations, sponsored by the Salisbury-Rowan Human Relations Council. The day began with a breakfast at the J.F. Hurley YMCA to honor the late civil rights leader, and continued with a memorial service and parade in downtown Salisbury.
Livingstone College students William Carmichael and Jabari Anderson attended the holiday celebration for the first time Monday.
They both said they want to come back and help with the events in future years. Anderson said he’d like to see more young people supporting it and participating in a national day of service.
Carmichael said he appreciated getting the chance to watch Obama’s inauguration while remembering King.
“It’s a wonderful experience to be celebrating the late Dr. Martin Luther King and his life, and then celebrating the second term of our first African-American president,” he said.
Anderson said he liked the president’s inaugural address.
“All of his speeches are very well put together and inspirational,” he said, “It charges the American people to put aside Democratic and Republican and just be people.”
Betty Eller, of Salisbury, attended the celebration with her 3-year-old granddaughter, Dynasty, and her friend, Nicole Dawson.
“I took off work just to be here for this occasion,” Eller said. “We went to the YMCA breakfast this morning. … And we went to the service yesterday at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church.”
Showing the inauguration on a big screen at the beginning of the event was a “fantastic idea,” Eller said.
She said she always loves Obama’s speeches, and the one for his second inauguration was no exception. To her, the message was about unity.
“If we all stand together for the same thing the world would be a better place to live,” Eller said. “People can come together, and it’s not about what color you are. God put us here on Earth as one, and we are to be as one.”

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.