Annual event returns in person for first time since 2020

The celebration of the legacy of Revered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. returns to an in-person format for the first time since the pandemic at the 19th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Celebration on Monday, Jan.16, at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. The program begins at 8 a.m. in the Campus Center Great Room. An optional breakfast opens at 6:30 a.m., at a cost of $10 payable at the Great Room entrance.

The keynote speaker for this year’s event is Chris Haley, Director, the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland at the Maryland State Archives Research Department and the Utopia Film Festival. Mr. Haley’s address will focus on “Daring to Act; Radically Changing the Present.”

Mr. Haley has spoken on genealogy, African American history and self-empowerment on many occasions. His script for the 2004 Reconciliation Walk for Slavery And Penitence held in Annapolis helped garner the Maryland Tourism Council Global Marketing Award for the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation.

He is co-director of the Capital Region Emmy Nominated documentary, Unmarked (currently available on iTunes, Apple TV, Amazon, airing on PBS.ORG under the REEL SOUTH series) on the state of often unknown and under-supported burial sites of free and enslaved African Americans. He received the 2021 Anne Arundel Arts Council Literary Arts Award for his many writings including the poetry collections “Until the Right One Comes Along,” Obsessions” and “Fists and Rainbows.” His next poetry collection: “My Mind Has Many Windows,” is slated to be published in early 2023.

Following the program, beginning at 10 a.m. the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.®, Nu Zeta Omega Chapter will host a Day of Service, providing services and activities for students of all ages and adults. Donations of non-perishable foods, school supplies and new clothing & shoes for children will be collected.

The annual event draws local, state, and federal government officials; religious leaders; and citizens from all walks of life. The event is sponsored by St. Mary’s County Branch NAACP The 7025, St. Mary’s County Human Relations Commission, St. Mary’s County Public Schools, the College of Southern Maryland, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.®, Nu Zeta Omega Chapter.

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