January 9, 2010 7:50:00 PM
While Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored with a four-day Dream 365 celebration in Columbus, events are also planned in Starkville and West Point.
At Mississippi State University, a history-making member of federal law enforcement will be the featured speaker at the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity Breakfast Jan. 18 at 7 a.m. in the Colvard Student Union''s Bill Foster Ballroom.
Nehemiah Flowers Jr. of Jackson, who retired Jan. 3 as U.S. marshal for the Southern District of Mississippi, will help lead the university''s observance of Dr. King''s birthday.
A welcome by MSU President Mark Keenum, a presentation by Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman and a performance by the Black Voices Gospel Choir will highlight the program jointly-sponsored by the Greater Starkville Development Partnership.
A shuttle service will run from 6:30-10:30 a.m. between the Palmeiro Center parking lot and union building. The GSDP also is making possible a Web broadcast of the program.
Flowers was a member of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran''s staff when the senior Republican leader recommended him to President George W. Bush for the lawman post. With his Senate confirmation in early 2002, the graduate of (now) Belhaven University became one of only two African-American marshals since Reconstruction.
As marshal, Flowers founded the Southern District''s first Violent Fugitive Task Force, which has gained national attention for its apprehension of some "most wanted" felons.
The free Unity Breakfast is open to the public. For more information, contact Mary L. Alexander, director of MSU''s diversity and equity programs office, at 662-325-2493, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In West Point
A procession through West Point Jan. 18 will launch that community''s observance, according to a press release from the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee.
An assembly of marchers will gather at East Half Mile Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Street at 9 a.m. Participants will walk to Mary Holmes College Sage Gymnasium.
A 10 a.m. program in the gym will include a gospel fest with the Doss Family Singers and the Caldwell Family, among others. The theme for this year''s event, said spokesperson Anna Hayford-Jones, is "Reviving the Dream, Surviving the Reality."
Churches and organizations are encouraged to bring banners to carry in the march. In the event of bad weather, the procession will be by motorcade.
Event T-shirts are being sold at Davidson Chapel CME Church in West Point.
For more information about the West Point activities, contact Earline Mattix at 662-494-3651 or Anna Jones at 662-494-1024 or 662-494-1173.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.