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Mount Zion church to give awards in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

SALISBURY — Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church will honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday by giving humanitarian awards to two organizations and two individuals.

Receiving the awards are:

• Food for Thought for efforts to decrease and address food insecurity in the Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
• Tsunami Development Literacy Program, a free tutoring program that supports children in grades three-five.
• Mayor Al Heggins, the first woman African-American mayor of Salisbury.
• The Rev. Latasha Wilks for her involvement in the community and her Lend a Helping Hand organization.

Mount Zion’s 41st annual Martin Luther King Humanitarian Awards program will begin at 3 p.m. and include guest speaker Terrell R. Morton from the College of Education at the University of Missouri.

Morton is a pre-faculty postdoctoral fellow at the University of Missouri. He obtained a Ph.D. in learning sciences and psychological studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s in neurobiology from the University of Miami, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University.

He is co-founder of the Christine W. Avery Learning Center, a nonprofit organization that provides education and enrichment opportunities for disadvantaged youths in Asheville.

A scholarship is awarded each year in memory of the church’s former longtime pastor and his wife. Taelor Davis, a graduate of North Rowan High School and a freshman at North Carolina Central University, will receive the S.R. and Eva H. Johnson Memorial Scholarship.

Mount Zion Missionary Baptist, which is 150 years old, was founded by the Rev. Harry Cowan and is the second oldest African-American church in Rowan County, right behind First Calvary Baptist, which was also founded by Cowan.

Dr. Nilous Avery is pastor.

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