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King recalled on ‘Day of Service’

For the first time since Congress initiated the “King Day of Service” in 1994, volunteers from Pulaski County dedicated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to community service.
“King Day of Service” was created to be a “day on, not a day off,” in which citizens engage in community service to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., explained Eric Bucey of Beans and Rice, Inc.
Yesterday, local students in the Beans and Rice program, Community Housing Partners, Americorps members, and other community volunteers participated in a community service project called “Cookies for King,” Bucey said, noting that the volunteers baked 842 cookies, and delivered them to Pulaski Daily Bread, residents at Bluegrass and Meadowview Apartments, and door to door at businesses in downtown Pulaski.
Overall, the volunteers contributed a combined total of 80 hours of service on Monday, Bucey said.
He also commented that King once said, “everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,” and added that on Monday, the volunteers who participated in “Cookies for King” lived that motto.
Along with “Cookies for King,” a celebration was held Monday night at the Fine Arts Center Annex in Pulaski in honor of King.
Dr. John White, economic development director for the Town of Pulaski, filled in for Dr. Karanita Ojomo, who was ill and unable to attend, as MC for the event.
White opened the event with a moment of silence, dedicated to the memory of Nathaniel Slaughter, a resident of Pulaski who passed away this past week, who White described as a community leader and a civil rights activist.
White also had the opportunity to speak about the history of segregation in Pulaski County.
“Talking even today about segregation is a painful thing,” White said. “It’s hard to believe that’s the way we lived in this town and that segregation’s traditions are still hard to break after all these years.”
White said that when he was growing up in the 1950s, Jim Crow ruled in Pulaski, and determined what restaurant a person ate at, who you married, which part of the hospital you went to, where you sat in the movie theatre, what hotel you stayed at, where you sat on a bus or train, and more, depending on your race.
“Thank God, there were persons of moral courage who stood up and said, ‘no’ to the injustice that was Jim Crow,” White said. “These are people like Dr. King who recognized that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”
In Pulaski, White said one such person of “moral courage” was Dr. Percy C. Corbin, who decided to challenge the Pulaski County Schools in court over the fact that there was no “separate but equal” high school in the county and that black high school kids had to ride to school in Christiansburg. 
Corbin sought legal assistance from the NAACP and in December 1947, attorneys Oliver W. Hill, Martin A. Martin, and Spottswood William Robinson III filed suit in US District Court in Roanoke that the arrangement of bussing students 60 miles a day violated the 14th Amendment, the equal protection clause.
“Though Dr. Corbin lost the first round in the Virginia Federal Court,  Baltimore’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals later ruled in his favor,” White said. “The courts, the judge’s ruling stated, have a ‘solemn duty’ to strike down ‘forbidden racial discrimination.’”
Along with White, Jada Finley, a student at Pulaski County High School, had the opportunity to speak during the event.
Finley spoke about how her respect for King had grown from what she had learned from her parents, and her grandparents, in particular, who remembered the days when King was alive.
Finley said her family members had described King as the man who “gave us our voice,” which, at first, she did not understand, until they explained his teachings about bridging social barriers, and the hope that he had brought to so many people.
Gary Hash, a local member of the community, had the opportunity to speak at the event as well.
Hash said he was the first African American student at Pulaski High School in 1974 to make All-State Chorus, and his wife was the first African-American baby to be born in a regular room at the Radford Hospital, so he felt compelled to speak about bridging social barriers.
He said he believed that King’s dream was not simply for signs, such as one’s reading “Whites Only” to be taken down and for Jim Crow laws to disappear, but for people’s hearts to change.
“Continue to be bridge builders and people of vision” of all races and creeds, and “find out something about your common man,” he said.
In addition to the speakers at the event, elementary school students from the Beans and Rice after-school program performed a skit called “We Have a Dream,” and a group of youth, called “The Freedom Steppers,” performed three dances in honor of King.
In addition, a slideshow, “A Change is Gonna Come,” created by Pam Whitesell, an Americorps member and organizer of the celebration, was presented.
As the event drew to a close, participants and members of the audience joined together in singing “Amazing Grace.”

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King recalled on ‘Day of Service’

For the first time since Congress initiated the “King Day of Service” in 1994, volunteers from Pulaski County dedicated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to community service.
“King Day of Service” was created to be a “day on, not a day off,” in which citizens engage in community service to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., explained Eric Bucey of Beans and Rice, Inc.
Yesterday, local students in the Beans and Rice program, Community Housing Partners, Americorps members, and other community volunteers participated in a community service project called “Cookies for King,” Bucey said, noting that the volunteers baked 842 cookies, and delivered them to Pulaski Daily Bread, residents at Bluegrass and Meadowview Apartments, and door to door at businesses in downtown Pulaski.
Overall, the volunteers contributed a combined total of 80 hours of service on Monday, Bucey said.
He also commented that King once said, “everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,” and added that on Monday, the volunteers who participated in “Cookies for King” lived that motto.
Along with “Cookies for King,” a celebration was held Monday night at the Fine Arts Center Annex in Pulaski in honor of King.
Dr. John White, economic development director for the Town of Pulaski, filled in for Dr. Karanita Ojomo, who was ill and unable to attend, as MC for the event.
White opened the event with a moment of silence, dedicated to the memory of Nathaniel Slaughter, a resident of Pulaski who passed away this past week, who White described as a community leader and a civil rights activist.
White also had the opportunity to speak about the history of segregation in Pulaski County.
“Talking even today about segregation is a painful thing,” White said. “It’s hard to believe that’s the way we lived in this town and that segregation’s traditions are still hard to break after all these years.”
White said that when he was growing up in the 1950s, Jim Crow ruled in Pulaski, and determined what restaurant a person ate at, who you married, which part of the hospital you went to, where you sat in the movie theatre, what hotel you stayed at, where you sat on a bus or train, and more, depending on your race.
“Thank God, there were persons of moral courage who stood up and said, ‘no’ to the injustice that was Jim Crow,” White said. “These are people like Dr. King who recognized that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”
In Pulaski, White said one such person of “moral courage” was Dr. Percy C. Corbin, who decided to challenge the Pulaski County Schools in court over the fact that there was no “separate but equal” high school in the county and that black high school kids had to ride to school in Christiansburg. 
Corbin sought legal assistance from the NAACP and in December 1947, attorneys Oliver W. Hill, Martin A. Martin, and Spottswood William Robinson III filed suit in US District Court in Roanoke that the arrangement of bussing students 60 miles a day violated the 14th Amendment, the equal protection clause.
“Though Dr. Corbin lost the first round in the Virginia Federal Court,  Baltimore’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals later ruled in his favor,” White said. “The courts, the judge’s ruling stated, have a ‘solemn duty’ to strike down ‘forbidden racial discrimination.’”
Along with White, Jada Finley, a student at Pulaski County High School, had the opportunity to speak during the event.
Finley spoke about how her respect for King had grown from what she had learned from her parents, and her grandparents, in particular, who remembered the days when King was alive.
Finley said her family members had described King as the man who “gave us our voice,” which, at first, she did not understand, until they explained his teachings about bridging social barriers, and the hope that he had brought to so many people.
Gary Hash, a local member of the community, had the opportunity to speak at the event as well.
Hash said he was the first African American student at Pulaski High School in 1974 to make All-State Chorus, and his wife was the first African-American baby to be born in a regular room at the Radford Hospital, so he felt compelled to speak about bridging social barriers.
He said he believed that King’s dream was not simply for signs, such as one’s reading “Whites Only” to be taken down and for Jim Crow laws to disappear, but for people’s hearts to change.
“Continue to be bridge builders and people of vision” of all races and creeds, and “find out something about your common man,” he said.
In addition to the speakers at the event, elementary school students from the Beans and Rice after-school program performed a skit called “We Have a Dream,” and a group of youth, called “The Freedom Steppers,” performed three dances in honor of King.
In addition, a slideshow, “A Change is Gonna Come,” created by Pam Whitesell, an Americorps member and organizer of the celebration, was presented.
As the event drew to a close, participants and members of the audience joined together in singing “Amazing Grace.”

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