Annual MLK celebration set Sunday

ELKINS The Cultural Awareness and Enrichment Group of Elkins will host its annual celebration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s life and dream on Sunday at The Old Brick Playhouse, Fourth Street and Davis Avenue.

A memorial walk will begin at 4:15 p.m. from the Randolph County Community Arts Center to the Old Brick Playhouse, where the program will begin at 4:30 p.m.

The guest speaker will be Sheila Coleman-Castells from Eglon, in rural Preston County. She has worked in Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration to develop “green jobs” in the state.

Coleman-Castells is a specialist in bilingual teaching and second language acquisition and has taught at the University of Virginia, George Washington University, the University of Maryland and West Virginia University.

This year’s celebration also will feature music and dance. Performers will include recording artists Michael and Carrie Kline of Elkins and a youth dance ensemble choreographed by Laurie Goux, a dance instructor at Davis & Elkins College. Goux is an acclaimed dancer and the artistic director of the SpiritWing Dance Ensemble.

This year’s celebration is the 16th for the group. Member Jane Birdsong said the Klines and the late Ann Kingslover of Elkins were just some of the people who were instrumental in founding the group.

Birdsong said, “We started having monthly meetings and would have speakers or watch and discuss a film.” She added, “We got to know each other, had potlucks and became friends. The holiday gave us something that we could put on for the community and raise awareness.”

She said, “He (King) was a man whose non-violent marches effected a lot of change in our country, and we honor the work that he did, the way he did it, and we can look at the progress that has happened in the civil rights arena of this country and see that one person can make a difference.”

Melvin Marks, another local resident and group member, said, “It is primarily a remembrance of seeing King’s dream come to fruition and how his dreams have been fulfilled through the country.”

The celebration is free and open to the public. Free-will offerings are welcome. A potluck dinner will be served in the lobby after the program, and it also is open to the public. Guests are asked to bring a covered dish.

More information can be obtained by calling Marks at 304-614-9234.