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Messages of love and uplift at MLK breakfast

South Boston News
L.E. Coleman Museum curator Linda Miller and Earl Howerton of Southside Outreach Group / January 23, 2020
Appeals to love and uplift fellow human beings — the message that Martin Luther King Jr. used to galvanize the civil rights movement and shape the conscience of a nation — were frequently heard at a Monday morning banquet to celebrate the anniversary of King’s birthday.

The second floor Prizery meeting room was packed Monday for the annual King Day breakfast event hosted by the L. E. Coleman African-American Museum.

The celebration began with the invocation by Clifton Miller asking for God’s presence during the special occasion.

Arlene Dailey, mistress of ceremony, kicked off the program by inviting everyone to greet the persons sitting next to them. “Meet someone new today,” she said.

Among those in the capacity crowd were local government officials including members of the Board of Supervisors and School Board, South Boston Mayor Ed Owens, Sheriff Fred Clark and Deputy Giles Jones, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin.

Earl Howerton, executive director of Southside Outreach Group, an affordable housing organization, and financial director Earlene Powell each offered introductory remarks, and the breakfast was blessed by Ronnie Pannell.

After the meal, Howerton introduced the speaker for the celebration, the Rev. Dr. Otis Dillard of County Line Missionary Baptist Church.

“Martin Luther King was a born leader who paved the way by showing the love for the soul is greater than the love of his life,” said Dillard in a rousing talk infused with gospel fervor. Martin Luther King did it for all mankind and laid down his life for this greater love, Dillard continued.

He asked listeners to “look beyond your thoughts to show people and help them get past their mistakes.” It is easy to say you love someone, but show it by your actions.

“King brought us where we are today and we’ve got to continue his dream and help one another,” said Dillard.

“Love will make you love your enemy, do for people you don’t want, and speak to everybody.”

Music by the County Line Baptist Church Male Chorus Plus kept the audience singing, swaying and tapping their feet.

Handing out the numerous door prizes presented during the banquet were youth with the Misunderstood program and Takyeria Vaden, Queen of the Halifax County Branch of the Virginia NAACP. Misunderstood is a nonprofit corporation organized exclusively for educational and charitable purposes to empower young males ages 10-18.

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