'Lest We Forget': Birmingham Groups Plan to Remember Words, Life of Martin Luther King
Roeper will lead a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ceremony and candlelight walk at its lower school campus while Wayne State's Dr. Silas Norman will speak at The Community House Monday.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Monday and in Birmingham, community groups are preparing for ways to remember, give back and reflect.
Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration to feature Wayne State doctor, civil rights activist
Beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, The Community House will host its 21st annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, a breakfast sponsored by Birmingham's Race Relations & Diversity Task Force.
Themed "Lest We Forget," this year's event will feature a speech from Dr. Silas Norman, Jr. assistant professor of internal medicine and the associate dean for Admissions, Diversity and Inclusion at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
Born and raised in Georgia, Norman began his formal involvement in the civil rights movement while at Paine College in the early 1960's. As a student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1963, Norman led that campus's civil rights organization.
In 1964, Norman returned to the south and accompanied a Literacy Project team to Selma, AL. The project was designed to help prepare people challenge the system that prevented African Americans from registering to vote. Later that year, Norman became a field worker for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
As part of his work in Alabama, Norman helped coordinate activities with other civil rights groups — including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference which counted King as its first president — and also met Malcolm X. Norman is a life member of the NAACP.
"We are delighted to featured Dr. Silas Norman, Jr. as our keynote speaker for our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration," said Janelle McCammon, chair of the 2012 event, in a press release. "Dr. Norman, who worked so tirelesly to advance the civil rights movement in our nation, offers a wealth of knowledge and insight. We look forward to being inspired by his message."
Roeper ceremony to conclude with candlelight walk
Also on Monday, some local students will be remembering King's life during an evening celebration of the civil rights leaders' words and ideals at the Roeper Lower School.
Designed around the theme, "I Will Speak Out," Roeper students and staff have planned a communal meal, a ceremony reflecting on King's life and accomplishments, followed by a candlelit walk to Roeper's Martin Luther King, Jr. domes — classroom space built in 1969 in the activist's memory.
According to Roeper spokeswoman Carri Hammers, the school chose "I Will Speak Out" to stress the importance of not remaining silent or inactive in the face of prejudice and injustice.
During both the ceremony and candelight walk, students and community members are welcome to share songs or poems, as well as their reflections on "this great man, his impact on their lives, the world today and the work that still needs to be done."
Held annually for more than 25 years, Hammers said more than 400 people participated in Roeper's Martin Luther King event in 2012. Also on Monday night, Roeper will be donating nonperishable food items to Gleaners.
If you go
Roeper's Martin Luther King, Jr. Ceremony, Candlelight Walk
- When: Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday; ceremony starts at 6:15 p.m. and walk begins at 7:15 p.m.
- Where: Roeper Community Center (41190 Woodward Ave., in Bloomfield Hills)
- Cost: Free
The Community House's Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
- When: 8 a.m. Monday
- Where: The Community House
- Cost: General tickets are $30; student tickets are $15