The Chronicle’s Virtual MLK Event uplifts, inspires, offers call to action

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Chronicle’s Virtual MLK Event uplifts, inspires, offers call to action
January 20
07:21 2022

Since 2000 The Chronicle, the city’s oldest and most respected community newspaper, and the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, has celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the annual prayer breakfast held at the Benton Convention Center. Last year, due to the pandemic, the event was held virtually and that was the case this year as well. 

The production, which was pre-recorded and aired on Facebook Live on Monday, Jan. 17, included singing, poetry, inspirational messages, and more. The event was headlined by special guests, internationally renowned speaker Gloria Mayfield Banks, and the 35th General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Dr. Everett B. Ward. 

Banks, a native of Detroit, overcame obstacles along her journey to become the successful business woman she is today. Although she grew up dyslexic, Banks went on to graduate from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and later from Harvard University with a master’s in business administration. Banks also has an honorary doctorate from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. 

Just like Dr. King, Banks said she has been able to overcome obstacles in her life by having a dream. “A dream can be so impactful and it can penetrate in so many different ways and we see that by the way Dr. King did not sit on his dream,” Banks said. 

“Looking back, everything has come true that I talked about because it first started as a dream. Never be afraid to dream and always dream out loud.” 

Ward is a frequent speaker in areas of higher education, leadership development, and political/civic engagement.  Before becoming the elected general president of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., in 2015 Ward became the 11th president of Saint Augustine’s University (SAU), the third SAU alumnus to serve as president. During his address, Ward said Dr. King unrelentlessly sacrificed his own wellbeing to take up the banner for freedom and justice. 

“Here’s a man who knew that death was at his front door every day through possibilities of violence. But he understood and he welcomed that and said in spite of that threat, I’m going to give my life so that my children, and my children’s children, and all of our children, can live in a nation ‘where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.’”  

Ward noted that Dr. King was only 26 years old when he received his Ph.D. from Boston University and could have easily stayed in the North, but instead he returned to the South to fight for his people. “At that time, less than one percent of African American had a PhD, let alone a Ph.D. from Boston University, and he chose to return to the South,” Ward said. 

“And then to put his own personal life on the line says that he made two choices that are very notable and one that we should honor and then emulate. It’s not enough to just honor Dr. King on Jan. 15 and celebrate his birthday, the question becomes, what are you doing 364 days of the year to carry that legacy forward and then pass it on to a new generation?” 

While delivering her charge to the community, Elder Tembila Covington, president of the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity (MCWSV), asked those who tuned in, “What are you doing for others?” Covington, who is the pastor of Exodus United Baptist Church, said the same question which Dr. King asked while delivering a speech in 1957, is still relevant today in the fight for justice. 

“As things begin to evolve and require you and I to take action, remember what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: ‘Life’s most persistent question and urgent question is what are you doing for others?’ We should respond with the power and the courage … to do unto others what you would have them do unto you. This is justice.” 

You can watch The Chronicle’s 22nd Annual Virtual Dr. Martin Luther King Event in its entirety by going to The Chronicle’s Facebook page.


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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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