Dr. Alisa Robinson McLean, the Area Superintendent for Durham County Public Schools was the keynote speaker at the 2016 birthday celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. An enthusiast crowd of approximately 500 people attended the event held at Swain Auditorium in Edenton, NC. Nearly 100 of those attending were students. Several community leaders spoke passionately about MLK’s legacy, his impact on their own lives and how his dedication to service continues to inspire future generations. The celebration of MLK’s birthday featured a poem recited by a local fourth grade student, a prayer from Bishop Landon Mason, music by the Judah Arts Community Youth Ensemble and a closing civil rights hymn, We Shall Overcome.
The tribute was hosted by the Chowan County Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee. This year’s theme was galvanized in part by a paper King had written in 1947 while a student at Morehouse College. King wrote, “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.”
Martin Luther King’s Legacy Inspires Locals
Dr. Alisa Robinson McLean, who grew up in Elizabeth City, NC offered an energizing speech influenced by her personal reflection of King’s legacy. She challenged all generations to ask what King cited as one of life’s most persistent and urgent questions, “What are you doing for others?”
Please don’t let that day be ‘a day off’ for you; but rather ‘a day on’ for service to your fellow man.
This call for action echoed across the country as other communities celebrated King’s contributions through a national day of service. And consistent with King’s teachings, Dr. McLean affirmed that the time is always right to do the right thing. These same sentiments that King presented at the height of the civil rights movement are still remarkably relevant fifty years later!
McLean summarized her speech articulating that King’s life and legacy was grounded on vigorous action – as much about what he did as what he said. May we honor Martin Luther King’s memory by being courageous, insightful, helpful, positive and intentional!
Local Knowledge: Martin Luther King, Jr. first visited Edenton on December 20, 1962. He spoke to approximately 500 people. He also delivered a speech at an All Citizens Freedom Rally at the local armory in Edenton, NC on May 8, 1966.