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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (1/20/20) — The community remembered the life and legacy of Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through celebration, special guest speakers, song and dance.

Several gathered at the Larry Carney Center this snowy morning for Madisonville’s 34th Annual MLK Memorial Wreath Laying Service. Madisonville Police Department officers and Hopkins County Sheriff’s deputies along with Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton placed the wreath, while Hopkins County Honor Guard presented the colors.

Madisonville North Hopkins High School Praise Choir as well as the Community Male Chorus of Hopkins County performed during today’s celebration to remember King’s legacy.

The mayor remarked the community coming together to remember King is an event that leads to a brighter tomorrow. He also noted that being a servant to others is an “honor and privilege,” and it is “our job to foster the growth” among area youth.

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Several religious leaders including First Christian Church Pastor Kara Foster, Rev. Terry Slaton of St. James Baptist Church, Christ the King Catholic Church Father Carl McCarthy, Rev. Deborah Slaton of Zion Temple AME Zion Church and Word of Faith Christian Center Elder Marvin Hightower were among guests.

Zion Temple Paster Robert F. Boone, today’s keynote speaker, recalled King’s peaceful, yet powerful leadership, saying he became the voice for many facing discrimination and segregation across the nation.

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“Dr. Martin Luther King became the most visible spokesperson during the Civil Rights Movement, from 1955 until his assassination in 1968,” Boone said. “ … Even I often wonder how we, today, can waste so much time on things that do not move us forward together in the nation, collectively, as Dr. King expressed often ….”

A crowd of approximately 600 people from around the community also came together Saturday evening during the 38th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration held at Byrnes Auditorium at the Madisonville Community College Health Campus in Madisonville.

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Hopkins County Central High School Jr. ROTC presented the colors, HCCHS Chorus, accompanied by HCCHS Band performed the National Anthem, while Oak Grove Baptist Church Adult Praise and Purpose performed a moving presentation on stage. Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield, Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton and State Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty were among speakers that offered words of encouragement to the crowd.

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Dr. Klein Gray, pastor of New Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Shelbyville, was keynote speaker during the ceremony, followed by song from Ladies of Praise Mass Choir.

HCCHS teacher Veronica Buckner was awarded Educator of the Year, and Brianka Dulin and Lasia Vanlue each received the $2,000 Madisonville Community College Martin Luther King Jr. scholarships.

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