Friday, January 18, 2013

Local event honored meaning of holiday

Local event honored meaning of holiday

This link "broke down" as soon as I published this on the Examiner.com web site last night. I am placing it here so everyone who wanted to could read it. Enjoy!

The local prayer and scholarship breakfast held in Wichita Falls, Texas honored the meaning of  Martin Luther King Jr. Day, held on the third Monday in January every year since 1986. Even though this was one of many celebrations that went on in all 50 states, his legacy was felt both in the United States and abroad. It sparked the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Fair Housing Act, in which, under article VIII, it was unlawful to discriminate against those of race or nationality when buying or renting a home in the U.S. Abroad, it sparked the Black Consciousness Movement and the Civil Rights Movement to end apartheid in South Africa. Even though the day had different names in some states, all celebrated the federal holiday by the year 2000.

The Martin Luther King Prayer and Scholarship Breakfast raised scholarship money for  young adults who saw college as a way to better themselves and their communities. Tickets for this year’s breakfast were $20 for adults and $14 for children. The breakfast started at 7:30 a.m. and the program honoring Dr. King and his life’s desire to someday see a color blind society with all races acting as one began at 8:45 a.m.

Attendees at the breakfast were to enjoy a program of prayer, song, uplifting speakers and camaraderie.
This year’s keynote speaker was former City of Wichita Falls resident and current Missouri 5th District Congressman, Emanuel Cleaver II. Cleaver was a graduate of Booker T Washington High School, who received five honorary Doctoral Degrees, augmented by a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M, and a Master’s Degree from St. Paul Theology of Kansas City. Cleaver also served for twelve years as a Kansas City Council member and was elected as the city’s first African American Mayor in 1991.

Tickets were still available for the 24 annual Martin Luther King Prayer and Scholarship Breakfast Saturday, January 19 at the Multi-Purpose Event Center. Tickets could’ve been  purchased from the Martin Luther King Center, located at 1100 Smith, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling 761-7980.
Dr. Martin Luther King’s biggest legacy was to make sure Civil Rights were firmly implemented in the United States. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 a few days after his assassination. Article VIII of that act, commonly known as the Fair Housing Act, outlawed discrimination on the sale of housing or related transactions, solely on the basis of race or nationality. This was widened later and included sexual orientation, disability, or family status. Internationally, King's legacy had an influence on the Black Consciousness Movement and Civil Rights Movement in South Africa outlawing apartheid, which started in 1948 and ended in 1994.

As a further  legacy, President Ronald Reagan made Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a federal holiday in 1983. It was finally observed on the third Monday on January, as proclaimed by George H.W. Bush in 1992, which made it closer to his actual birth date. Unfortunately, not all 50 states honored this law at first. New Hampshire, Arizona, and Utah were among those that wanted a different name. Utah wanted the day called “Human Rights Day”. Virginia and Mississippi combined this day with “Lee-Jackson Day”.  It wasn’t until the year 2000 when all 50 states conformed. Arizona (1992), New Hampshire (1999) and Utah (2000) were the last three states who recognized this holiday.

In spite of the struggles that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went through in bringing equality for all persons of color or nationality, the meaning of the holiday, celebrated by a prayer and scholarship breakfast in Wichita Falls, Texas was his legacy which was recognized both in the United States and abroad.


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