Keynote Speakers Revealed For 46th Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Charleston’s ten-day Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, the largest and longest running event of its kind in South Carolina, will be headlined in January by Joan Robinson-Berry, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina and Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and Michael Boulware Moore, president and CEO of the International African American Museum.

Michael Moore

The annual tribute’s theme will be “One Man, One Dream… Together We Achieve.”

The MLK Ecumenical Service will be held on Sunday, January 14 at 4:00 p.m. at Morris Street Baptist Church, where Moore will deliver the keynote address to more than 1,000 expected attendees. The service is free and open to the public.

Moore was inspired to take the helm of the International African American Museum, slated to open in 2019, by the story of his own great-great-grandfather, who escaped slavery during the Civil War on a stolen Confederate ship, returned to fight for the North, and later rose to serve in the South Carolina legislature during America’s Reconstruction era. “He overcame obstacles to live a life of consequence,” Moore told Garden & Gun magazine in an interview.

The MLK Business and Professional Breakfast will cap the ten-day tribute. Held at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 16, at the Charleston Gaillard Center, the event will feature Joan Robinson-Berry as keynote speaker and City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg as honorary chairman.

Joan Robinson-Berry

Robinson-Berry has been honored for her work in diversity, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by a variety of global organizations, including the National Society of Black Engineers and members of the United States Congress. In 2017 Women’s Enterprise magazine ranked her among its Top 100 Leaders in Corporate Supplier Diversity, and the Long Beach chapter of the NAACP named her Woman of the Year. She has also been named one of the Most Powerful Women in Business by Black Enterprise magazine, honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Women in Aerospace organization, received the Woman of Distinction & Accomplishment award at the Washington State African American Achievement Awards, and was featured by Charleston Business magazine as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Charleston.

The MLK Breakfast is again expected to be attended by hundreds of Charleston’s business, civic, and clergy leaders; at the 2017 event, more than 600 attendees packed a large ballroom at the Charleston Gaillard Center, joining hands at the close of the event in a show of unity.

This year’s theme emphasizes the need for everyone to participate in fulfilling Dr. King’s dream. “With this theme we’re celebrating Dr. King’s legacy and dream of equality,” said LaVanda Brown, executive director of YWCA Greater Charleston. “Saying ‘together we achieve’ emphasizes that we all have to invest in seeing his dream become real. We recognize that we’ve made some progress as a country and as a community, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. The positive is that together, we can accomplish that dream. We can bring it to fruition.”

Organizations can sign up to sponsor the MLK Celebration now at ywca-charlestonsc.org or by calling (843) 722-1644. Individual breakfast tickets will be available for $45 per person in early January.

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