The High Country to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Commemorative Events

Published Monday, January 18, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Compiled by: Kaitlan Morehouse

Observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a holiday celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., falls on Monday, Jan. 17 this year. The High Country will host several events celebrating the civil rights leader.

The local chapter of the NAACP encourages you to join them in celebrating its “I Have a Dream” Week. The observation of the week started 23 years ago with a group of concerned residents who organized a silent protest of a Ku Klux Klan rally in Boone and Blowing Rock, and that group grew into the I Have a Dream Task Force.

A recent release from the local NAACP reads:

“Since that time, each year, we’ve had the opportunity to celebrate the life of Dr. King and to join together in his dream,” said Marg McKinney, chair of the community coordination committee of the NAACP Watauga branch, in an email. “Programming by local churches and organizations has brought life to Dr. King’s message of hope and unity among diverse people in our county as a whole and on the Appalachian State University campus.”

According to McKinney, the 2016 celebration includes dialogues on civil rights, religious tolerance and unity, a campus lecture and visit by leading civil rights author and speaker Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, the MLK Challenge community service day at Appalachian, live music, a radio program and more.

Celebrate at one or all of the events shown here:

Sunday, Jan. 17

  • 11 a.m. – High Country United Church of Christ welcomes the community to its worship service at 8233 Hwy 421 N., themed “Called to Stand for Justice.”
  • 11 a.m. – Mennonite Brethren Church, led by Pastor Mike Mathes, welcomes the community to its worship service at 161 Church Street in Boone.
  • 4-6 p.m. – Boone Unitarian/Universalist Fellowship holds its Dances of Universal Peace. The Dances is a participatory practice that utilizes simple movement and song in recognition of the universality of all spiritual traditions, representing a number of different Christian Churches. The “I Have a Dream” speech will be played and dreams of a more peaceful world will be shared. No dance experience is required. For more information, contact Akal Dev Sharrone at 264-1384.

Monday, Jan. 18

  • 8 a.m. – ASU holds their MLK Day of Service, where registration is at Legends to get volunteer assignments for the day and an educational program precedes the day. The volunteers will be working at over 20 community faculties and agencies that serve people in Watauga County.
  • 11 a.m. – Blackburn’s Chapel UMC at 3986 Todd Railroad Grade Rd., Todd, NC hosts a MLK Service Day. Rev. Brandon Wrencher starts off the day, speaking with Erica Wrencher and others singing Gospel Freedom Songs, and service projects in Todd, where casual or comfortable clothes are needed, end the day at 1 p.m. to 3 or 4 p.m. Lunch will be served at noon. For more information, email [email protected].
  • 7 p.m. – Mabel United Methodist Church in the Mabel Community of Watauga County on Old US Highway 421 holds its 19th annual Unity Service, focused on bringing people together in religious faith and world peace, in honor of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which will feature a performance from the Junaluska Gospel Choir from the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church, led by Choir Director Danny Whittington. Five community members will offer prayers of peace: from the Hindu tradition, Christine and Dinesh Dave; from the Jewish table, Carol Gross; from the Unitarian Church, Ian LeClaire; from the scholars, Historian Diane Terry and from the Baha’i, Betty Wells. There will be coffee and dessert following the service. For more information, call member Mary Sue Morgan at 297-3568. To learn more about the Junaluska Gospel Choir and their events, visit their website at or visit their facebook page at Boone MB Church.

Thursday, Jan. 21

  • 7 p.m. – ASU holds its Annual MLK Commemoration at the Shaefer Center on the ASU campus, where the speaker will be acclaimed author and sociology professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Hailing from Detroit as a young man, he came from a welfare background to become one of the most respected and inspiring thinkers and critics in America. His speech, “Dr. King for the 21st century,” is free and open to the public.

Friday, Jan. 22

  • Luke’s Episcopal Church holds an interfaith worship service, “Celebrating our Shared Spiritual Journey.” For more information, call Mary Gray at 264-620.

Saturday, Jan. 23

  • Young World Radio on WATA on 1450 AM or WXIT on 1200 am with Sam Tate airs its “I Have a Dream” special, “What the Dream Means to Us”, which is voices of community youth and their elders and music to commemorate the life and times of Dr. King.

Sunday, Jan. 24

  • 11 a.m. – Baha’i Devotional Meeting at 297 Cherry Dr. in Boone will be themed “Prayers for All Imprisoned for their Religious Beliefs,” and everyone is invited to attend. For more information, call 264-2297.
  • 4 p.m. – Chamber Concert at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church presents “A Musical Feast,” celebrating cultural diversity with music from different lands, where admission is $15—$5 for full-time students with valid id. For more information, call Akal Dev Sharrone at 264-1384.



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