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Hampton’s MLK Day ceremony to honor Mary T. Christian, and ‘heroes’ in public service and mental health advocacy
Daily Press - 1/18/2020
For Hampton’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemoration, the city plans to acknowledge pioneers in public service, such as Mary T. Christian, and advocates for mental health reform, such as Harriet Storm.
Christian, who died in November at 95, was a long-time state delegate, educator and community leader.
Storm, who died in 2009, was a champion for those affected by mental disabilities and was named citizen of the year in 2002 by the Daily Press Editorial Board.
Those honorees, along with 10 others, will be celebrated along with the slain civil rights leader on the coming federal holiday honoring King’s birthday, observed Monday.
Mayor Donnie Tuck and Hampton City Council members expect to share the stories and the legacies of those being added.
The honorees will be added to one of four panels that make up the The Hampton Heroes Memorial Plaza, located outside the Hampton Roads Convention Center.
The plaza commemorates King and those who worked to accomplish social change and justice in Hampton, as well as embody the spirit of King’s message of nonviolence.
Every year, the city plans to focus on a different career path or industry when adding names to the memorial.
Other trailblazers in public service being added this year include retired Hampton Circuit Court Judge Wilford Taylor, Hampton’s first African American judge. On the mental health advocacy side, Rufus and Evelyn Easters helped establish a local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, city officials said.
A citizens committee came up with the design for the memorial, which includes four rectangular metal panels and a walkway through an elliptical garden. One of the panels commemorates King, while the other three list the names of the local heroes.
This year’s honorees are advocates for mental health: Richard Marshall Bagley Sr., Rufus B. and Evelyn Easter, Harriet Nachman Storm; and modern-era trailblazers in public service: William Mason Cooper, Dr. Mary T. Christian, James L. Eason, Juanita F. Gupton, Ann Hitch Kilgore, John Mallory Phillips Sr., Wilford Taylor Jr., Yarborough B. Williams and George E. Wallace
The ceremony begins 1 p.m. Monday, inside the convention center.
HU hosts MLK Day event
Hampton University will host its annual Martin Luther King Jr. march and program, officials announced Thursday.
The march is set to begin at 10:15 a.m. Monday at Emancipation Oak and continues to Robert C. Ogden Hall.
Following the march, a program dedicated to King begins at 11 a.m. inside the hall.
Rev. Jerome A. Barber of Sixth Mouth Zion Baptist Temple will offer opening prayer. Rev. Charity Michelle Fisher, a 10th-grade teacher at I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, is scheduled deliver the keynote address.
A reception in the HU Student Center lounge on Marshall Avenue, hosted by the Gamma Iota chapter of the Alpha Psi Alpha fraternity, immediately follows the program.
Lisa Vernon Sparks, 757-247-4832, firstname.lastname@example.org
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