300 celebrate life, legacy of MLK at Kick-Off Program

Diane Cooper of Putnam County claps Tuesday night along with attendees of the 21st annual King Week Kick-off Program as the Mount Moriah Baptist Church Men's Choir sings.

JARRETT BAKER/Special to The Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 at 11:17 p.m.


FYI: 2006 King Week events

For more information on events in this listing, please contact the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida, 376-2442.

The echo of their voices resonated inside the white walls and vaulted ceilings of the congregation, inspiring some to stand up with their hands outstretched to the heavens Tuesday, celebrating the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
More than 300 people spilled out of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Gainesville for the 21st annual King Week Kick-Off Program, commemorating King's birthday. The standing-room-only service included prayer, singing and several speeches by area preachers and government leaders.
The Rev. Adrian S. Taylor, pastor of Springhill Missionary Baptist Church, gave the keynote address.
The Rev. Milford L. Griner, a member of the MLK Commission of Florida, which organizes the event, called King a preacher of "great faith and courage."
He encouraged the community to fight for equality and justice for all people - as King did.
"Don't be afraid to stand up for justice," Griner said, followed by a chorus of "Amens" and deafening applause from the audience.
Alachua County Commissioner Rodney J. Long noted how different times are now than when King was leading the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
"Who would've thought we'd be all sitting here in downtown Gainesville at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church recognizing a trouble-maker," said Long, who was greeted by roaring laughter.
The crowd clapped and sang to music selections performed by the Mount Moriah Baptist Church Men's Choir, the Charles W. Duval Fine Arts Academy and the Williams Elementary School Chorus.
The service is part of a week of events in advance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16. - which is a national holiday.
But it's not a holiday for relaxation and barbecues, Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan said during her address.
"This is a time for us to put our words into action," Hanrahan said. "We all need to stick together."


  • The "Kingian Nonviolence" Leadership Conference, 6:30-8:30 p.m., MLK Multi-Purpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St.; Speakers: John T. Jones Jr., executive director of the Florida MLK Jr. Institute for Nonviolence and Capt. (Ret.) Charles L. Alphin Sr.


  • Diversity Luncheon, 11:30-1 p.m., MLK Multi-Purpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. 2006 Black History/Culture Brain Bowl, 7 p.m., MLK Multi-Purpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St.


  • "Empowerment Through Education Symposium," 10 a.m.-3 p.m., MLK Multi-Purpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St.


  • Martin Luther King Commemorative Program, 11 a.m., Mount Zion AME Church, Hawthorne. Inspirational song, skits, readings and guest speaker.
  • 21st Annual Hall of Fame Banquet, "Empowerment for the Next Decade - Empowerment Through Education"; Keynote speaker: Bonita Parker, chief operating officer of the Rainbow Push Coalition, Chicago; 6 p.m., Paramount Plaza hotel, 2900 SW 13th St. Donation: $40 (no tickets sold at door). Contact: Jackie Hart-Williams at 376-2442 or 264-6956.


  • Prayer Breakfast, 6:30 a.m., Gainesville VA Medical Center Auditorium, 1601 Archer Road.
  • National Holiday Kickoff Program, noon, Downtown Community Plaza; speaker: Kendra Grimes, Eastside High School, 2006 Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Award Recipient.
  • Annual Commemorative March, 1 p.m., MLK Memorial Gardens (downtown) to MLK Multi-Purpose Center, Waldo Road.
  • Gospel Extravaganza, 2 p.m., MLK Multi-Purpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St.
    FYI: Post-King Week events


  • Ebony Fashion Show, 8 p.m., Lincoln Middle School, 1001 SE 12th St. Tickets: $25. Contact: Verna Johnson, 372-1004.


  • Rosewood Bus Tour, departs from Paramount Plaza hotel at 9 a.m., returning at 2 p.m.; Cost: TBA. Contact: Lizzie Jenkins at (352) 495-2197.
  • Women In Religion, time TBA, Paramount Plaza hotel; cost: TBA. Contact: Janie S. Williams at 378-4586.
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