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Numerous events on tap to honor MLK

By Chris Johnson | Staff Reporter
On January 17, 2019

The Florida State Capitol.
Photo Submitted by Chris Johnson.

The Rev. C.K. Steele Sr. and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will both be honored this year with a commemorative service and rally hosted by the Tallahassee branch of the NAACP.

The event takes place Monday, the nationally recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

As stated on the Tallahassee NAACP’s website, the commemorative ceremonies are an annual event. The 34th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Breakfast on Friday, and the renaming and dedication of state roads 371 and 373 as the C.K. Steele Memorial Highway on Saturday will precede the 2019 celebrations. The ceremony for the highway dedication will take place at 11 a.m., at the corner of West Orange Avenue and Capital Circle Southwest.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day festivities, chaired by Tallahassee NAACP vice president Carita Evans, start Monday morning, with the Reverend C.K. Steele Sr. Commemorative Service scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., at the C.K. Steele bus terminal.

Florida House State Rep. Loranne Ausley of Tallahassee is the keynote speaker for the service.  The late Steele’s son, Darryl, is expected to provide a special music performance. Darryl, a member of the independent music label Tribal Records, has worked with renowned artists such as Betty Wright and Tyrone Davis, according to the label’s website.

Immediately following the commemorative service will be the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Rally. At 10:15 a.m., participants will march from the C.K. Steele bus terminal to the Duval Street entrance of the Florida Capitol building, where the MLK rally is slated to begin fifteen minutes later at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Both Steele and King were instrumental in the Civil Rights movement from the 1950s onward. Both men helped lead bus boycotts in 1956: King, the famous Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, and Steele, the less publicized Tallahassee bus boycott.

The two would go on to work alongside each other as part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with King serving as the organization’s inaugural president and Steele its first vice president.

While the speakers for the MLK rally have yet to be disclosed, Ausley “promises to bring a message of hope” at the commemorative service for Steele.

This weekend will be a busy one for the Capitol building. The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates and Indivisible Tallahassee will be holding their second anniversary of the Women’s March on Saturday.

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