Area residents gathered at Mt. Moriah church in Middlesboro to honor and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.
The annual program, also held to honor the 2014 graduating seniors, was sponsored by the Friends of Lincoln School Inc.
Vietnam Veteran and retired coal miner Jesse Simpson Jr. delivered a message stating to never to give up on your dreams. He reminded those attending that King had a dream and ended up giving his life for it.
“You got a chance to be whatever you want to be,” said Simpson. “Education is the key.”
He said the graduates should grasp at their dream and they can do anything.
“Put him (God) first, let the Holy Spirit lead you and guide you and you will succeed in anything you want to do,” he said.
Simpson talked about possible struggles and hard times the graduates could face in the world. He said the world does not owe anyone anything.
“Just because you’re black or bi-racial or whatever, this world don’t owe you nothing,” said Simpson.
William R. Smith, who is also a veteran, spoke as well. He stressed the importance of family.
“When the dust clears, all you will have is family,” said Smith.
Smith said the graduates are about to face a cruel world that doesn’t care about them or to who their relatives are.
“Don’t you ever let this world dictate to you who you are,” said Smith. “They will sure try to do that.”
The program also recognized the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963, which resulted in the death for four little girls.
Special guest singers included the Victory and Praise Choir, Candace Oslonian and Robert Kelly.
Candace Poe read a scripture.
Jamaya Poe led “A Prayer for Martin Luther King Day.”
The master of ceremonies was Rick Washington.
Pastor James Chesney gave the benediction.
At the conclusion of the program, Theresa Williams recognized 14 seniors who received the “SEED” award.
The seniors are Amanda Biscardi, Marissa Cole, Destiny Ford, India Helms, Tyshon Kinkade, Austin Poindexter, Devanee Rogers, Bryce Scott, Victoria Simmons, Josh White, Caitlin Zachery, Christian Ford, Stacey Washington and Jazemene Taylor.
Anthony Cloud may be reached at 606-248-1010, ext. 1125 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN.