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Local MLK Day tribute returns tonight after 2-year hiatus

| January 16, 2023

DOVER (WJER) (Jan. 16, 2023) – Area civic and spiritual leaders will be honoring a civil rights icon the day after what would have been his 94th birthday. 

The Dover First Baptist Church’s yearly tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Junior returns tonight after taking the last two years off because of the COVID threat. Master of Ceremonies Marvin Fete thinks attendees will enjoy hearing from this year’s featured speaker: former Cleveland Indians relief pitcher and current Rainbow Connection Executive Director Perci Garner.

“He will talk about adversity that he’s encountered in his life and I’m sure reflect on what he learned from Dr. King and why Dr. King is important to him and how we can all be inspired by overcoming adversity in our lives and trying to be better people the way Dr. King wanted us to be.”

Fete considers King a personal role model whose impact on our society can’t be overstated.

“Do we still have some way to go? Absolutely, but the things that we’ve achieved and where we’ve gone away from segregation and to a more equal society where all people have an opportunity. I think to have accomplished in such a short period of time during his lifetime after really what was 150 years of oppression prior to that, I think it’s just extraordinary.”

The free event begins at 7 pm, also with musical performances, refreshments, and remarks from Dover’s interim mayor. 

“It’s been a tumultuous time for the country coming out of COVID and Dover itself had its own tumultuous history recently, so I thought it was really appropriate to have Shane Gunnoe say a few words about all the things that we’ve overcome and how great it is to have all of us together again to celebrate the life and legacy of this remarkable man.”

The tribute has been a community tradition since Martin Luther King Junior Day became a federal holiday in 1986. It’s now named after the man who started it, former Dover First Baptist pastor Reverend Christopher Lowery, who passed away in May of 2019.

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