Prominent Figures to Headline 2017 MLK Celebration

Leading figures in local business, communications, politics and the clergy will take prominent roles during the four-day MLK “Freedom Rally” and Celebration starting next week in Myrtle Beach.

S.C. Senator Ronnie Sabb (D-32) will keynote the invitation-only welcome breakfast on Friday, Jan. 13. Sen. Sabb is an attorney from Williamsburg County. His district covers largely Williamsburg and Georgetown counties, with sections of Horry, Florence and Berkeley.

On Friday, Jan. 13, Dr. Graeme Coetzer, director of the Institute of Community Development at the College of Charleston, will guide a business-oriented workshop “Translating Diversity into Economic and Social Value.Dr. Coetzer recently led an initiative on managing human differences that brought over 300 sector leaders from across South Carolina and the U.S. to explore the challenges and opportunities of being a diverse society.  Rick Elliott, president of Elliott Beach Rentals and member of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is slated as the featured guest speaker at the workshop luncheon.

At the Saturday, Jan. 14 film festival matinee, retired Episcopal priest Rev. Judith Upham of Fort Worth, Texas will speak to school children and participate in press conferences. Rev. Upham was a fellow seminarian and close friend of Jonathan Daniels, who was murdered in 1965. Daniels’ story is told in the documentary film Here I Am, Send Me. Rev. Upham will talk about her participation in the Civil Rights marches and events of that year.

The “Civil Rights Sunday” Ecumenical Service on Jan. 15 will be led by the Rev. Frank Madison Moses, pastor of Mt. Olive AME Church in Myrtle Beach; and the Very Rev. Edward Fitzgerald, pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Garden City. The service will be held at Mt. Olive AME, 1108 Carver Street.

Emcees for the “Drum Major” awards at the Monday morning Corporate and Community Breakfast will be TV news anchors Tim McGinnis of WPDE and Christel Bell of WMBF.  The keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Henry “Hank” Singleton, Benedict College in Columbia, SC, is the son of the late South Carolina NAACP leader and Civil Rights activist Rev. H. H. Singleton, who is legendary for leading a famous march in Horry County.

The celebration finale, the “Grand Freedom Parade” will be led by parade marshals Mike Chestnut, Myrtle Beach City Councilman, and Stephanie Pedersen, editor of the Sun News newspaper.

For a detailed schedule of events, visit the Carolina African American Heritage Foundation.

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