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Tribute to King aids students

January 19, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

About 100 people braved inclement weather Sunday to gather at the Martin Luther King Center in Hagerstown for an annual banquet honoring the slain civil rights leader for whom the center is named.

Money raised from the 18th annual event goes to college scholarships to area students with at least a 2.5 grade point average.

Tickets for the event cost $10. Nearly 70 people have received $500 scholarships, in part from the event.

Ruth Monroe, scholarship committee chair for the event, said she was concerned the weather would keep people away. She was pleasantly surprised by the turnout, which was only a little less than in past years when the weather was better, she said.

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"I am very glad they are here," Monroe said.

The attendance showed how committed people are to the event and the cause, she said.

During a dinner break, Shawn Ashby and Allen Gaines said they come every year.

Both said they gave no thought to letting the weather keep them away.

Several parents of students who have received a scholarship spoke during the event.

King was mentioned by many of the speakers.

"Martin Luther King had a dream and that dream is still alive," Phyllis Davis said.

Russell Williams, a member of the Washington County Board of Education, said he heard King speak by the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963. He said that to honor King, people should register to vote and fight against efforts that would hurt the poor.

School Board member Princeton Young, the first black person to serve on the board, announced he is going to donate his annual $4,800 board salary to the scholarship. He also urged everyone to exercise their right to vote.

"If you are not registered to vote, please register," Monroe said.

She urged people to vote for Young, joking that as long as they keep him in office, they can get additional money for the scholarship.

Annette Conyers, who presided over the event, asked everyone to do something to commemorate King's life and actions.

"We know Martin Luther King worked tirelessly. ... He gave his life so we can realize a dream in America," Conyers said.

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