Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events begin this week and lead up to the holiday on Monday, Jan. 20, when the 15th annual Unity March will take place in downtown Conway.
At 10 a.m., the public is invited to join the march at Conway City Hall and walk together to the Faulkner County Library on Tyler Street for the annual Celebration Ceremony at 11 a.m.
True Holiness Saints Center Pastor E. C. Maltbia said the event, which includes guest speakers and singing, takes place at the library because of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s high regard of education.
"We want all of our young people to participate in the march for the experience. Many community leaders will be at the library to celebrate and share words of encouragement to the participants," Maltbia said. "Overall it is a phenomenal event. People should understand it’s an event for our entire community."
The library is closed Monday except for the celebration and following children’s activities.
Shuttles from the library to the Unity March starting point at City Hall begin at 9 a.m.
Hendrix College and the University of Central Arkansas will host a kids carnival at 1 p.m. at the Hendrix Wellness and Athletics Center.
The event is free and open to the public.
The first of local MLK events is the MLK Prayer Breakfast at 9 a.m. Friday in the UCA Student Center Ballroom.
Victor Green, UCA trustee and claims manager at Pilot Catastrophe Services, is the guest speaker.
The breakfast is sponsored by the UCA Office of Diversity and Community and the Office of the President.
Sunday, Jan. 19 is the Unity in Praise Service at New Hope Baptist Church, 1232 Watkins Street in Conway.
King, who was a Baptist preacher, will be honored along with his mission with singing from local choirs.
Events continue Tuesday, Jan. 21, when UCA’s Students for the Propagation of Black Culture will hold the Silent March beginning at Arkansas Hall on campus.
The march begins at 1:40 p.m. during X-period, when all classes are dismissed.
Finally, a MLK chapel service will be held at Green’s Chapel on the Hendrix College campus at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27.
The chapel is located just off of Washington Avenue.
Maltbia said the holiday is about promoting good will among all races and classes, promoting community service, and about celebrating progress.
"I’ve often been asked if I feel like the dream of Martin Luther King has been realized. I don’t think it has been fully realized, but it is important for us to celebrate victories we’ve had along the way," Maltbia said. "In the city of Conway we are working hard to promote appreciation and the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jeff Moncrease, who organizes the Unity March, has done a good job of that through the years."
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)