At 11:00 a.m. on January 16, 2023, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration will begin with a march from the Greenbrier County Courthouse to the Lewisburg United Methodist Church via Washington Street. Before the march, Chris Winston of Mount Tabor Baptist Church will inspire the participants with an invocation and a short oration. Lewisburg Mayor Beverly White will read her proclamation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Week 2023 which begins that day. During the march, a powerful song of the civil rights movement will be sung: “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”.
After the march, a free community lunch will be served in the church. At 12:30 p.m. in the church sanctuary, there will be a program of singing and speaking including the reading of essays by young school children. At the first of the program, everyone will sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
The theme for this year’s event derives from the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” Local school students entered the 2023 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Essay Contest and Art Contest and based their works on this theme. Winning essays and works of art will be featured in the program. Other youthful participants in the program will include the talented students of High Rocks Academy.
The Resurrection Praise Choir will perform as they did so well during this event in 2017, a year after this choral group was organized by Roger Patterson, the keyboard player, and Erika Hunter, the director. The choir is composed of singers from several churches in Covington, Clifton Forge, and White Sulphur Springs.
Greenbrier West High School graduate and professional entertainer Andre Williams will be singing during the program even though he is busy with the American Idol competition this winter. Also on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Lewisburg about ten years ago, he was a singer for the event.
The keynote speaker will be Crystal Good who has been featured in programs around Lewisburg before. She read her poetry at the opening of the 2015 Summit on Race Matters held at the New River Community and Technical College campus in Lewisburg. In 2013, she was one of the speakers for a TedxLewisburg staged at Carnegie Hall. She is now the publisher of Black By God THE WEST VIRGINIAN which is a Black-led news organization developed to address the information gap within West Virginia. It is based in Morgantown. On December 28, 2022, she was awarded the Carter G. Woodson Truth Teller Award by the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum in Matewan.
Watch for more information on the Facebook page: Lewisburg WV MLK Day Celebration. Sharing the Facebook Event posted there will help get the word out. Questions about all this may be directed to Larry Davis at 304-646-0602. Donations in support of the Martin Luther King Day Celebration may be made at the event or mailed to the MLK Committee c/o CYAC at 112 Courtney Drive, Lewisburg, WV 24901.