Noon Hour Commemoration hits 40-year mark

It was a packed house for the 40th Annual MLK Noon Hour Commemoration.

Noon Hour Commemoration hits 40-year mark
January 23
08:51 2020

The 40th Annual MLK Noon Hour Commemoration has become a staple of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday here in Winston-Salem. The event even predates the federal holiday for King and routinely packs Union Baptist to capacity.

Noon Hour founder/organizer Mütter D. Evans says the years have gone by quickly and she originally did not intend to continue the event this long, but the event took on a life of its own.

“If anyone had said when I started this with two days out, that I’d be doing it 40 years later, there would have been some very flowery language where I would have said ‘Ain’t no way’,” said Evans. “As I said on Saturday, it really is a commitment and people really continue to support more than anything else and that’s the reason why I continue to do it.

“Hundreds of people come out year after year, without any incentive, to hear what we have put together. I like to believe that those seeds have been sown somewhere in their hearts and motivating other people to stand in the gap and to keep going. We have a long way to go and the only way we do that is to have real conversations. So hopefully, every year, this will be a way for that to happen more.”

The who’s who of Winston-Salem came out to celebrate the event. The highlight of the event was when Mayor Allen Joines proclaimed that Monday would be Mütter Evans Day in Winston-Salem moving forward. Evans was also honored with an award from the organizing committee as well.

Evans says she doesn’t do this event for recognition and has tried to stay away from being recognized by the organizing committee for years.  

The Dare to Make a Difference award was added to the program several years ago and has honored some of the city’s most hardworking and caring individuals. This year, Rev. Kelly P. Carpenter, senior pastor of Green Street United Methodist Church, was the recipient.

One of the biggest pleasures for Evans is the ability to keep the memory of Dr. King alive for the next generation, she said. Many times historical figures lose their importance as time goes on, but Evans’ goal is to make sure the young kids of today are aware of one of the most important figures who paved the way for them.

“That’s the reason why there’s involvement of some young people, to make them more sensitive to that and to make them get off of their phones to pay attention and to listen,” she said. “It’s easy to repeat phrases, but you have to listen to what that real message is and hopefully with this, people do that. I want the people to hear his (King) voice and to hear his words.”

The keynote speaker for the day was North Carolina State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley. Her message featured many quotes from Dr. King, along with bringing up the things we need to do as a community to keep King’s dream alive.  

“I think her message was right on,” Evans continued. “It was educational and inspiring. Sometimes it’s not always about the hype, you need to give a message people can relate to. She made it simple, she made it plain, and it was history.”

In the future, Evans wants the event to continue, with or without her in charge.  

“As long as there is a struggle, as long as we have people that are elected that are trying to take us back, this will never lose its reason for being,” she said. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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