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Wichita events celebrating Martin Luther King Day emphasize unity

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, at 9:32 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, at 8:42 p.m.


MLK Day Events

Buttons are required to attend Saturday’s events only. Money goes to support the Kansas African American Museum. They may be purchased for $3 at the museum, site of events or at the following locations: Calvary Baptist Church, Christian Faith Centre, Dellrose United Methodist Church, Greater Pentecostal COGIC, Jackson Mortuary, P&P Seed and Bait, Salon Pryme, St. Mark UMC Church, St. Paul AME Church, Tangles Boutique and World Harvest Church.


• 8 a.m., pancake breakfast, Christian Faith Centre, 1130 S. Broadway

• 10 a.m., community-wide parade. Route starts at Christian Faith Centre, goes north on Broadway and west on Douglas to the Chester I. Lewis Reflection Park.

• 11 a.m., community project at Kansas African American Museum, 601 N. Water. Making fleece blankets for Aspire, a shelter for women and children.

• 7 p.m., Celebration at St. Mark United Methodist Church, 1525 N. Lorraine. Event will include a gospel concert by Wiley College choir of Marshall, Texas.


• Noon, citywide celebration, Wichita State University’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 29th Street North and Oliver. University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gary-Little is the featured speaker.

When the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was held more than 50 years ago, not all the faces in the large crowd were black.

“There were white people, Hispanic people and black people,” said Christyn Breathett, education director for the Kansas African American Museum. “It was about jobs and laws – some of the same things we’re concerned about today.

“It was a unity thing.”

Unity also will be the theme of Saturday’s events in Wichita that lead to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday – right down to the logo, which has a diverse color of interlocking hands.

Saturday’s events will include a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. at Christian Faith Centre on South Broadway; a downtown parade at 10 a.m.; a community event at 11 a.m. at the museum, where participants will make fleece blankets for a shelter; and a 7 p.m. celebration and gospel concert at St. Mark United Methodist Church.

The crowning moment of the Washington march on Aug. 28, 1963, was King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. But organizers want to remind children that King’s civil rights efforts went beyond that memorable speech.

So in between the breakfast and parade at the church, children will be able to attend breakout sessions to learn about the movement and what King represented, said Wade Moore, pastor at Christian Faith Centre.

All of those events are sponsored by the museum and other community groups.

On Monday, Bernadette Gray-Little, chancellor for the University of Kansas, will be the featured speaker at a citywide celebration that starts at noon at Wichita State University’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 29th Street North and Oliver. That event is sponsored by the Greater Wichita Ministerial League.

Participants in Saturday’s events will need to purchase a $3 button, Breathett said. The money goes to help support the museum. No button is required for Monday’s citywide celebration.

While past buttons have had a picture of King, this year’s button will display the interlocking hands.

“A lot of people think Martin Luther King Day is only for black people,” Breathett said, “but it embodies so much more. We’re trying to bring everyone together, so it’s not just a black history event. It’s everyone’s event.

“That’s the way we move up as a people, as a human race.”

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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