B4 January 24-26, 2019
Richmond Free Press
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tributes
Gov. Northam speaks at VUU Community Leaders Breakfast By Ronald E. Carrington
Gov. Ralph S. Northam addressed the 41st Annual Community Leaders Breakfast last Friday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a message of valuing Virginia’s diversity and the collective responsibility of supporting each other as the state moves forward. The event, sponsored by Virginia Union University, was held at a Downtown hotel, where more than 700 people gathered, including numerous elected officials, among them Richmond City Council President Cynthia I. Newbille, Richmond School Board member Cheryl Burke and new 7th District Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney, 4th District Congressman A. Donald McEachin and 3rd District Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott were on the dais and spoke as part of the program. Also in the audience was the Rev. Tyler C. Millner Sr., pastor of Morning Star Holy Church in Martinsville, who organized the first Community Leaders Breakfast as part of Community Learning Week. Gov. Northam was introduced by state Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan of Richmond who chairs the state Martin Luther King Commission. He acknowledged Dr. King’s 90th birthday on Jan. 15 and reminded the audience of Dr. King’s several visits to VUU in the 1950s and 1960s. Dr. King’s leadership helped inspire the “Richmond 34,” a group of VUU students who were arrested after staging a nonviolent sit-in at the whites-only lunch counter at Thalhimer’s
Gov. Ralph S. Northam urges people to follow Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s lead and become vocal “about things that matter” at the annual Community Leaders Breakfast last Friday celebrating the civil rights icon. Left, Richmond state Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan joins in applauding the governor after introducing him.
department store Downtown in February 1960. The students’ actions helped push desegregation efforts in Richmond. He talked about Virginia’s collective history dating back 400 years that cannot be ignored
or forgotten. He said as Virginia celebrates the 400th anniversary this year of the first representative body in North America, “we cannot separate the arrival of the first Africans at Point Comfort, which is now Fort Monroe in Hamp-
ton. The story of Virginia is one of liberty and enslavement,” he said. “We cannot mark one without the other.” The governor noted that Virginia’s and America’s strength is its diversity, and while many great strides have been made, there is much to be done — in access to health care, education, voting and the judicial system. He said a good place to start is with “reconciliation.” “This is the most important time for leadership in Virginia and America,” Gov. Northam continued. “We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.” Referring to the bloody and deadly demonstration in August 2017 in Charlottesville by white nationalists and neo-Nazis, Gov. Northam said, “We do not condone hatred and bigotry in Virginia.” He said Dr. King spoke about the power of love and, quoting Dr. King, the importance to understand that “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are we doing for others?’ ” he said. “As citizens, we all have an obligation to look out for — and help — each other.” At the breakfast, the Rev. Dr. Earl M. Brown, pastor of Fifth Baptist Church in Richmond, was honored with the MLK Lifetime of Service Award for his leadership beyond his congregation; the Richmond section of the National Council of Negro Women was honored with the MLK Civic Engagement Award; and Randy Cooper accepted the MLK Award for Community Engagement on behalf of the Richmond Heritage Federal Credit Union.
Photos by Ava Reaves
Community service, public programs and vigils are among the ways Richmond residents marked the national holiday Monday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his leadership in promoting justice and equality. Historic Evergreen Cemetery offered one example of people providing a day of service and celebration to remember the civil rights great who sought to uplift the nation. Along with volunteers clearing undergrowth at the cemetery, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and the cemetery’s owner, Enrichmond Foundation, hosted a King remembrance that included, above, the singing
of the Virginia Union University Choir under the direction of Dr. Willis Barnett. The foundations also used the occasion to announce the completion of a conservation easement to prevent development of the cemetery, the burial ground for about 20,000 people, including such Richmond notables as pioneering businesswoman Maggie L. Walker and crusading newspaper editor and banker John Mitchell Jr. At left, Andy Epps and Carl Joseph of Richmond are among a crew of volunteers who worked Monday on the cemetery grounds despite bitter cold temperatures.
Photos by Regina H. Boone/Richmond Free Press
From left, Rachel Motley, left, and Erin Almquist of Richmond pitch in to care for a biking and walking trail at Bellemeade Park in South Side on Monday as part of the City of Richmond’s “In Pursuit of the Dream” events. Center and right, a participant holds a program as Mayor Levar M. Stoney speaks at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church to launch the city’s King Day volunteer activities.
Photos by Sandra Sellars/Richmond Free Press
Members of Theta Rho Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, a fraternity brother, on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University Monday night. The event began with songs by the VCU Black Awakening Choir, followed by the march and candlelight vigil in which students and community members joined.
Richmond Free Press January 24-26, 2019 Edition