Martin Luther King Remembered at Ocean City High School
Event held in Hughes Performing Arts Center.
Music was performed by The Levites and high school students, speeches from community leaders were made and awards for community services were given at Ocean City High School's celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Hughes Performing Arts Center on Saturday afternoon.
Mayor Jay A. Gillian spoke of how important history is, and should be, in Ocean City's public schools.
"I look at this room...this room should be filled to the gill," he said. "Education for our kids, we should start not teaching to the test, but get back to our history and explain why we are so lucky...I hope somehow these people that have come before us are proud of what we do in Ocean City.
"I wish there were more kids here, because I don't think they understand how lucky we are because of people like this [Dr. King]."
Reverend Drena Garrett of St. James AME spoke about what Dr. King meant to her growing up as an African American in Ocean City, and spoke of some of his accomplishments.
"In my formative years, I didn't understand the civil rights movement, because I lived here in Ocean City, and I was not experiencing the kind of segregation I was seeing on T.V., reading in the newspaper, discussing in classrooms," she said.
"I thought: What kind of man is this? A man whose message is love, a man who just wanted to do God's will, a man who will always be remembered for what he did for others ... Dr. Martin Luther King."
Garrett spoke of King's leadership and philosophy of non-violence, his bus boycotts in Alabama, his march to Washington D.C., his "I Have a Dream" speech, his Nobel Peace Prize, and his assassination.
"Thousands followed the two horse drawn casket," she said.
Five residents of Ocean City were honored at the event: Patricia Jackson and Ernestine Bell for their work with the children of Ocean City and Cora Wright and Scott Halliday Jr. for their consistent commitment to the community. Mayor Gillian was also awarded by local churches with a sports jacket for his service.
"This has to be the most unique presentation I've ever seen," said Mark Soifer, publicist for Ocean City. "It reminds me of the Master's tournament...but it's well deserved, congratulations Jay."
Reverend Gregory Johnson spoke to conclude the event, performing a dialogue between King and his wife Coretta and reading from King's "I Have a Dream Speech."
Following the celebration, a soul food dinner was served to attendees in the high school cafeteria.
Ocean City will also be hosting a citywide cleanup on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King Day from 10 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. at the Henry S. Knight Building at 115 12th St. The city will provide trash bags and gloves and volunteers are urged to wear appropriate footwear and clothing.