Artwork from the 2019 MLK Community Celebration. (KMAN file photo)

Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is being celebrated in Manhattan this weekend.

A community celebration kicks off MLK festivities Saturday at Peace Memorial Auditorium. It includes finalists in the MLK Jr. Art and Writing Contest and honors the Spirit of Martin Luther King Community Service Award. Guest speaker Lem Sheppard will present on the Harlem Renaissance.

MLK Memorial Celebration Committee member Debbie Nuss joined KMAN’s In Focus Monday. She says Sheppard is a musician, guitarist and historian with an interesting perspective as to how African American culture and arts were exposed to the world.

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Sheppard is being presented thanks to a grant from Humanities Kansas. Committee member Kevin Bryant says having they’ll focus on the local connection both at Saturday’s celebration and again at the annual prayer breakfast Monday.

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Creative work from finalists in the art and writing contest will be presented with 140 entries from Manhattan area kindergarten through 12th grade students. The theme for the contest is “life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?” Nuss says “spreading kindness one act at a time” was a theme picked by the winning group for artwork kindergarten through second grade, related to the overall theme of the contest.


Nuss also shared a portion of the best of show writing contest winner, drawing parallels from the late Nelson Mandena, environmental activist Greta Thunberg and Dr. King.

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The Spirit of Community Award winner will be unveiled during Saturday’s ceremony, which runs from 2 to 4 p.m. at Peace Memorial Auditorium.

A prayer breakfast will be held on Martin Luther King jr. Day (Monday, Jan. 20) from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, 530 Richards Drive. The event is free and open to the public. A breakfast buffet is available to attendees at a cost of $10 per person. Bishop Dr. Darryl Martin with Manhattan Christian Fellowship Church will speak at the breakfast.


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