William Jewell College will host the 34th annual Northland Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, in Gano Chapel on the College’s campus. The event is free and open to the public.
The program will include music by the William Jewell College Concert Choir and feature a performance by the American Spiritual Ensemble, sponsored by the Harriman-Jewell Series and made possible through a $1,000 mini grant by the Liberty Arts Commission.
Rev. Dr. Vernon Percy Howard, Jr., a 1986 Jewell alumnus, will be the featured speaker and will receive the Invictus Award. He is senior pastor of St. Mark Union Church, Kansas City, Mo., and president of the Kansas City chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a faith based, non-violent, direct action Civil and Human Rights organization formed during the 20th Century Civil Rights movement in America. He also serves as chair of the Justice Witness Covenanted Ministry of the United Church of Christ of the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ.
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Awards will be presented to area residents:
- Luce-Virlynn Apollon is a senior nursing and Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry major at William Jewell who is involved in Cardinal Blazers, Cardinal Hosts, Concert Choir, Pryor Leadership Program and the Black Student Association. She has held leadership positions in Zeta Tau Alpha and Student Senate, and has chaired the Standard of Conduct Review Board. Off campus, Apollon has been involved in her community, participating in her church and working with a number of organizations to help bring positive change.
- Mamie Hughes is a former president and CEO of the Black Economic Union in the 18th and Vine Historic District. She was an originating member of the Central Exchange, a charter member of the Jackson County Legislature, president of the board of directors of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and served on the Panel of American Women. She also served as the ombudswoman for the Bruce R. Watkins Drive project and helped to grow Freedom, Inc., a black political organization based in Kansas City. Hughes is one of Greater Kansas City’s most dedicated activists. She writes about her 60 years of experiences in racial and social equality in her autobiography, Mamie Who? The Life and Times of a Colored Woman.
- Tim Nixon, who passed away in November, enjoyed a 39-year career in coaching and teaching with the Liberty School District. He was a man of faith who believed his mission was to serve and mentor others through his teaching, coaching and friendship. He traveled to Haiti and Trinidad on several occasions to serve a local orphanage and was a humble leader who helped shape the culture of Liberty Public Schools.
- Howard F. Sachs is a senior U.S. district judge for the Western District of Missouri. He attended Southwest High School, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and earned a law degree from Harvard Law School on the GI bill. Judge Sachs has taken a firm stand for civil rights and equality beginning with the integration of Swope Park Swimming Pool in 1951 and later with a fair housing ordinance. Appointed by President Carter in 1979, Judge Sachs is considered the ‘Dean’ of the Bench in the Western District of Missouri. He was the first Jewish District Judge to sit in the Eighth Circuit in nearly 100 years. To this day, he is credited as a driving force behind the integration of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.