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Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - January 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

MLK Program Deemed a Success
Houston County Courier -  January 2009
By Roberta Mason
Chairman of MLK Memorial Committee

The 31st Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Program, presented by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee was deemed a success by those in attendance.  The annual event was held Sunday, Jan. 18 at the Crockett Alternative Campus (formerly the Crockett Junior High School) at 3 p.m.
Master of Ceremony, former Crockett School Board President James Gentry led the program.
Verna Harris, pianist at the Union Prairie Baptist Church played the music for prelude, the National Anthem, the Negro National Anthem, and a beautiful rendition of a favorite song for the music portion of the program.
C. J. Wheeler, a freshman at Crockett High School represented the youth as he led the pledges to the United States and Texas flags.
Rev. Earl Harris, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, gave the Invocation and the Honorable Lonnie Hunt, Houston County Judge, welcomed the guests to the grand celebration.
Both Claude Watson, president of the Crockett Independent School District School Board, and Donna Gordon Kaspar, Houston County District Attorney extended greetings.
Retired educator Della Newman introduced the members of the MLK committee and Roberta Mason, founder and chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee, read the Litany.
Violet Jackson Harvey, a recently returned Houston County native, introduced her friend and classmate, the renowned speaker retired Lieutenant Colonel Donald D. Ards of the United States Army. 
  Ards is a native of the Simon Springs community and the brother of community leaders Cather Ards Woods and Pearlie Ards Fobbs.  His parents were the late Nealy and Florida Ards.
Lieutenant Colonel Ards spoke on “No Excuses!”  In his outstanding speech, he fascinated, amazed, and electrified the audience with his ability to recollect dates, names, and events of the Civil Rights era.
He quoted portions of many of Dr. King’s speeches but said that his favorite Dr. King speech was the last one: "I Have Been to the Mountaintop," which was delivered the night before his assassination in Memphis.
Lieutenant Colonel Ards challenged the audience to continue to ‘Keep the Dream Alive’.
The Reverend Jim T. Ainsworth gave a beautiful prayer of dedication; Mrs. Woods provided the beverage table in honor of her brother's status of guest speaker. 
Hostessing the event were Sheryl McKnight, Bobbie Hickman, Patricia Gibson, and Eva Cooper.
Jesselyn Box Reece, a most beloved classmate of Lieutenant Colonel Ards, was successful in inviting many members of the class of 1967 to hear and greet their former classmate as guest speaker.  
Members of Lieutenant Colonel Ards’ family were present to offer support and encouragement and the MLK Committee is grateful to everyone that participated and attended the program.












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