By Special to the Daily World
Road Scholar, the not-for-profit world leader in lifelong learning, recently debuted a new learning adventure exploring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his native Atlanta.
“We are honored to have had the exceptional opportunity to celebrate Dr. King’s life in his hometown — his continuing influence worldwide is unquestionable,” says Kathy Taylor, associate vice president of community development at Road Scholar.
Participants from across the country attended the four-day program. Highlights included an expert-led exploration of King’s alma mater, Morehouse College, and a visit to the MLK International Chapel and the Hall of Honor portraits where Dean Lawrence Carter addressed the group and Dr. Bob Holmes, a former Georgia State representative, presented a lecture on King’s contributions to Atlanta. The Morehouse visit concluded with a rare opportunity for participants to view the original King papers at the Woodruff Library and to take part in an enlightening lecture by Dr. Vicki Crawford, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Collection.
Program participants also ventured to the Sweet Auburn Historic District, where they visited King’s birth home, and Ebenezer Church, where King served as pastor. They explored Freedom Hall at the King Center and paid tribute at Dr. King and Mrs. Coretta Scott King’s burial site.
The Road Scholar group also had the special opportunity to attend Sunday morning worship service at the new Ebenezer Baptist Church and enjoy dinner at the still-popular Paschal’s restaurant, where King and other Black ministers and activists frequently met for discussions during the Civil Rights Movement.
“One of the many things that Dr. King believed in was the power of education,” said Joyce Edwards, who traveled from her hometown of Silver Spring, Md., to Atlanta for the Life and Legacy of Dr. King. “Knowledgeable presenters and educators shared the story of Dr. King’s struggle and the opportunity to peruse the King papers and to see many of Dr. King’s handwritten documents was a special highlight. This was an amazing, educational and inspiring journey!”
A Taste of Road Scholar reception was held on the evening of Saturday, April 9 at the Carter Center to welcome participants and to introduce Road Scholar to more than 200 Atlantans. Keynote speakers included Tony Clark, the public affairs director for the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and Rev. Willie M. Bolden, a civil rights activist who served as one of Dr. King’s grass-roots leaders.
The honorary chairs of the Atlanta host committee for the reception included Dr. Robert Franklin, president of Morehouse College; Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church; The Hon. Patsy Jo Hilliard, former mayor of the City of East Point; Carolyn Young (Mrs. Andrew Young); Martin Luther King III, president and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center; and Isaac N. Farris, vice president of the King Center and nephew of Dr. King.
Elder Bernice King, Dr. King’s daughter and a minister at New Birth Missionary Church, delivered a moving message about her father and mother and the significant roles they played in American history. Elder King commented that among the great things that her father did was “he married the right woman.” She added that her mother was able to carry on in the movement because she realized that she “married the mission” when she married King.
Jet Magazine’s Clarence Waldron of Chicago served as master of ceremony at the reception. Bunnie Jackson-Ransom, the local coordinator of the M. L. King Jr. program, has collaborated with Road Scholar for over three years in an aggressive initiative to reach more African Americans and develop opportunities that speak directly to the Black experience.
“I was delighted to put the program together because, as Atlantans, we tend to take for granted that the amazing trail Dr. King blazed for our community — and the world at large — is right here in our backyard,” said Jackson-Ransom.