In 1971, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Coordinating Committee, Inc. was organized initially as the Black Educators Caucus, sponsoring a remedial tutorial program in cooperation with the Minority Mental Health Association. In 1975, the program became an after school program at Friendship Baptist Church in West Palm Beach. The program then expanded with help from the West Palm Beach Housing Authority, Children's Services Council, Community Foundation, Front Porch, and the Pleasant City Neighborhood Association. In 1979, in cooperation with the Palm Beach County School Board, MLKCC expanded: (1) to sponsor oratory, poster and drama contests commemorating Dr. King's January birth date; (2) to provide Afro-Arts Annual presentations; and (3) to participate in Palm Beach Cultural Council's Annual Multi-Cultural Festival.
In 1983, the focus of MLKCC became the annual January week-long birthday celebration of Dr. King. MLKCC completed the 25th year of our "MLK Week" in January 2006. This event is filled with art exhibits, performing arts, oratorical, poster and essay contests, inter-faith religious services, GospelFest, tennis tournaments, and candlelight services. The week ends with a Scholarship Breakfast, attended by well over 500 individuals.
In addition, MLKCC provides a year long program for inner-city, low-income youth to learn ways to build self-esteem, create peace in their lives and develop a respect for a diverse community. The program links these children with activities happening within the county and encourages participation in activities that carry out the philosophy of Dr. King.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park, located at 2200 N. Flagler Drive, was completed in 2004. The park is the largest of its type in Florida and one of the largest memorials commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. anywhere in the Southern United States. The park contains numerous plaques and photos commemorating Dr. King's life, family and speeches, interspersed with highlights of the civil rights movement. The highlights are a bronze sculpture of Dr. King backdropped by cascading water on a granite wall and the display of flats, representing areas of great influence to King's life, waving over the intracoastal. This park was chosen as only one of five of PSC MILLENIUM Legacy projects.
In 1995, Martin Luther King Caregivers Program was established as a project of MLKCC. It began with a two-year startup grant from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the Community Foundation. This project provides direct services to persons 55 and older. It is volunteer driven and provides care-giving, homemaker assistance, food distribution, respite care, and transportation to economically disadvantaged home-bound elders. MLKCC received the Older American Acts Grant through the Area Agency on Aging to repair homes of elders in need.
Annie R. Nelson
Bevins Bennett, Jr.
Bettye T. Dawson
Edith C. Bush
Genava A. Brooks
Ken and Angela Anderson
Maria and Teddy Sanchez
Moses and Emma Porter
Pastor Walter and Lady Charlesetta Lovett
Rep. Bobby Powell Jr.
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