HANNIBAL, Mo. — A virtual celebration in honor of the birthday of late American icon and Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is being recorded Jan. 15, the day King would have turned 92.

This year’s theme is “Peace and Justice,” and the online event will include tributes and inspirational music celebrating his life and legacy.

In the interest of public safety, this year’s MLK organizing committee has decided to record a video of the annual program to keep guests and performers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 commemoration is hosted by Helping Hand Church and will feature the Rev. Lindell Robbins kicking things off.

The celebration honors the achievements of King, a Baptist minister who advocated for a peaceful end to racial injustice. He first came to national prominence in 1955 during a hard-fought bus boycott by African Americans in Montgomery, Ala. He founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and led the 1963 March on Washington. He was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations, facilities and employment, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

He will be remembered and recognized for his courage, his humanity, and his leadership.

A special viewing of the video will be available on Sunday, Jan. 17, and Monday, Jan. 18., and will be available on the Jim’s Journey Facebook page and website, jimjourney.org.

The presentation also will include video submissions from performing artists as well as tributes to King from community leaders and local ministers.

Also upcoming is the 2021 Black History Month event, “RiseUp,” an art installation in February at the Hannibal Arts Council.

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