Clockwise from top left: Guest speaker Richard White III, Gabrielle White (daughter of Richard White), accepting on behalf of her grandfather, William Mance, who is currently on a church mission in Haiti; Liam Rowland; Oralene Simmons; and MLK Award winner Bernadette Thompson. Photo: Urban News

34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast

martin_l_king_jr200Celebrate the Legacy: from Dreams to Actions

The 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast will be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, January 17, with a keynote address by Dr. Thavolia Glymph of Duke University.

Originally held at the Montford Community Center, the Breakfast grew to fill the former Asheville Civic Center, then moved to the Grove Park Inn, and this year will take place the Crowne Plaza resort in Asheville, taking advantage of easy access and free parking, as well as the ability to accommodate an audience of nearly 1,200.

The theme of the 2015 Breakfast is “Celebrate the Legacy: from Dreams to Actions,” in recognition that Dr. King’s legacy was built on the heritage of those who came before him, and that strong action is necessary to bring dreams to realization. Dr. Glymph has spent her career researching and writing about a key part of that legacy: the stories of those enslaved, particularly African American women, and their experiences under emancipation and thereafter.

Dr. Thavolia Glymph
Dr. Thavolia Glymph

Keynote Speaker

Thavolia Glymph is an associate professor of 19th-century Southern history at Duke University. As a widely respected expert on the history of slavery and emancipation, with special attention to African American women during and after the Civil War, Dr. Glymph is the author of the award-winning Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

The book was co-winner of the 2009 Philip Taft Book Prize and finalist for the 2009 Frederick Douglass Book Award and the 2008 Jefferson Davis Award.

Glymph’s published work includes numerous articles and essays as well as two volumes that she co-edited: Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1861 (Vol. 1, The Destruction of Slavery and Vol. 3, The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Lower South).

She is currently completing a study of women in the Civil War entitled Women at War, to be published by the University of North Carolina Press; African American Women Refugees in the Civil War, and The Long Road to a Republic of Citizens: Civil War Veterans, Nation, Empire, and Race, 1869-1882, a study of white Civil War veterans who served in the Egyptian Army in the 1870s.

The Prayer Breakfast is the largest, most diverse event of its kind in Asheville, each year bringing more than a thousand people of all races, faiths, and backgrounds together to recommit to Dr. King’s Dream. Music is interwoven throughout the morning, with a special appearance by the UNC Asheville Jazz Band (Larkin Dodgen, Sean McCann, Mike McCoy, and Gabrielle Tee) under the direction of Dr. Brian Felix, and musical selections by the MLK Community Choir directed by Antoine Crawford.

Tickets cost $25 for adults, $35 for patrons, and $15 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available online at www.mlkasheville.com, or by telephone order at (828) 281-1624; tickets can be picked up at the Brandi Nichole Family Enrichment Center (3400 Sweeten Creek Road, Arden) and Quality Janitorial Service office (1276 Hendersonville Road).

Clockwise from top left: Guest speaker Richard White III, Gabrielle White (daughter of Richard White), accepting on behalf of her grandfather, William Mance, who is currently on a church mission in Haiti; Liam Rowland; Oralene Simmons; and MLK Award winner Bernadette Thompson.  Photo: Urban News
Clockwise from top left: Guest speaker Richard White III, Gabrielle White (daughter of Richard White), accepting on behalf of her grandfather, William Mance, who is currently on a church mission in Haiti; Liam Rowland; Oralene Simmons; and MLK Award winner Bernadette Thompson. Photo: Urban News

Candlelight Service

In addition to the Prayer Breakfast, the Martin Luther King Association of Asheville and Buncombe County hosts several other events in honor of the Civil Right leader.

On Sunday, January 11 the Martin Luther King Award was bestowed on Bernadette Thompson of Asheville in honor of her work in the community. Thompson, who has been confined to a wheelchair since a car accident while she was a college student, has worked throughout her life as an advocate for education, training, and employment opportunities for the disabled. [See article on page 6]

Also honored at the Candlelight Service were William Mance, a leader in the Episcopal Diocese of WNC, and Liam Rowland, head chef at Green Opportunities Kitchen Ready program, for their work in the community.

The Award ceremony was part of the Candlelight Service, held at 3 p.m. January 11 at St. Matthias Episcopal Church. The keynote speaker for that event was Richard White III, who was the recipient of the first MLK Youth Award in 1985.

Peace March & Rally

On Monday, January 19, the official federal King Holiday, the Association leads a March and Rally for Peace and Justice to City-County Plaza. Marchers gather at 11:30 a.m. at St. James AME Church, at the corner of Martin Luther King Dr. and Hildebrand Street, for music and a brief homily on the occasion; at noon they walk several blocks to the public space facing Asheville City Hall and Buncombe County Courthouse, for a rally with speeches along with music by local artists WestSound.

The 2015 Prayer Breakfast and events are organized by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County, with sponsorship by Ingles Markets, Mission Hospital, and UNCA.

For more information about the King celebration and related events. Contact Ms. Oralene Graves Simmons, chairperson, at (828) 281-1624. The 2015 MLK, Jr. Breakfast will be held at the Crowne Plaza Resort.

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