Photo by Portia Williams -- The Stone of Hope, located inside of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.

The MLK Scholarship Committee of Portsmouth works to sustain the dream, vision and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through a series of events January 13-15 in Portsmouth that also help to raise money for local scholarships for high school seniors.

The slain Civil Rights Movement and historical icon of the 1960’s revealed his vision of racial equality and harmony in Washington D.C. in 1963, delivering the speech entitled, “I Have a Dream.” Maureen Cadogan, co-chairperson of the committee, said the group’s goal is to keep King’s dream alive.

“We just want people to know that love is the answer.”

“It is so important to not let Dr. King’s legacy die. Without activities or efforts such as these, our young people wouldn’t have a clue,” Cadogan said. “This generation, unless we teach them, they won’t know, so it is up to us to teach one. You know how they say, ‘Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one.’”

The committee was established in 1990 by Genetta Moore, who was well-known locally for her devotion to raising funds for students to assist with college expenses. Annually, the organization awards four $2,000 scholarships to seniors from Portsmouth High School and Notre Dame High School.

Moore died in 2012, but Cadogan continues Moore’s work. Other committee members are Anna Davis, co-chairperson; Christine Cave, secretary; Mary Sanford, treasurer; Anthony Cadogan, Gerald Cadogan, Doris Johnson, Arthur Lard, Jan Smith, Esther Dickerson, Carlton Cave, Karen Stanley, and Portia Williams.

“There is a saying that says, ‘Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it,’” Cadogan said. “So, we want them to understand the rich legacy and heritage that we came from and to honor that and celebrate that instead of looking back with disdain and discomfort, but with pride at where we have come from, and to get in touch with the struggle.”

“The breakfast gives us all a chance to come together, not just blacks and whites but everybody; we have the opportunity to intermingle,” Cadogan said. “It helps us to unify and remember that we are our brother’s keeper, and we are responsible for our fellow man. We are all in this together. In many of Dr. King’s quotes, he talked about love. In fact, the theme this year is ‘Stick With Love-The Work Continues.’ We just want people to know that love is the answer.”

She says the workshops are a teaching venue, and they enlighten the youth about the realities of the past. “With the workshops, we’re just teaching kids in general about the Civil Rights struggle,” Cadogan said. “We take them from where we were back then to where we are now, and where we want to be. We also tell them that they can make a difference. One person can make a difference. They can be that one individual that will change the world.”

Breakfast tickets may be purchased at the door for $15/person. You can also contact Christine Cave at 740-353-2829.

“With the high costs of college tuition these days, it is very difficult for some kids to get the funding that they really need,” Christine Cave said. “So, the Martin Luther King Scholarship is a ‘jump start’ if you will. Though it may not pay for the entire quarter or semester, it can at least help with books. It is such a pleasure to see the scholarship recipients read their essays, and then to see them perform for breakfast and during the Performing Arts Program,” she said.

Cave noted these events and activities bring the local community together, and “that is what it is all about,” she said. “I’m reminded of the quote, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ This is so true. It takes all of us working together to motivate them and encourage them to keep going and go to college and be whatever they want to be.”

She adds that the weekend helps students to understand what Dr. King’s legacy was all about and to realize his vision can also be their vision. “I think it is a great community effort,” she added, noting even smaller organizations purchase tables at the event because it is so important “when you realize this is for our children to be able to go to college.”

Breakfast tickets may be purchased at the door for $15/person. You can also contact Christine Cave at 740-353-2829.

The 2018 MLK Scholarship Committee calendar of events is as follows:

Saturday, January 13 

Scholarship Breakfast – 9 a.m.
Friends of SOMC Community Room
1202 18th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio

Sunday, January 14 

Silent March – 2:30 p.m.
Beginning at Shawnee State University parking lot
940 Second Street, Portsmouth, Ohio

Memorial Service-Immediately following Silent March
Pleasant Green Baptist Church
1421 Waller Street, Portsmouth, Ohio
Pastor Clarence Parker

Monday, January 15

Workshops- 10 a.m.-12 noon
14th Street Community Center, Portsmouth, Ohio

Performing Arts and Scholarship Awards – 7 p.m.
14th Street Community Center, Portsmouth, Ohio

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