Submitted by the Town of Simsbury
Simsbury will join the nation in observing Martin Luther King’s birthday on Monday, January 21st at 2:00 p.m. at First Church of Simsbury with a special presentation of a proposed permanent Simsbury memorial to King.
This program will celebrate Dr. King’s life and particularly his time in Simsbury during the summers of 1944 and 1947
King’s profound life achievement was influenced by his two summers in Simsbury. His writings strongly suggest that his call to ministry crystallized during his time spent with a group of Morehouse College students, earning money for their education by working at the Culbro Tobacco Farm in town.
The 2013 celebration will include readings of quotes from King's speeches, sermons, and writings that are inscribed on the Inscription Wall at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC, as well as music performed by the Simsbury High School Big Band and the Henry James Memorial Select Choir.
In addition, there will be a jazz performance by students from the Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts in Hartford.
Representatives from Simsbury’s clergy will also participate in the observation.
The keynote address will be given by Deacon Arthur L. Miller. Mr. Miller is an author, radio host, revivalist and retired businessman. Miller is director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Hartford. In addition to his assigned parishes such as St Mary’s in Simsbury, he is also the Catholic chaplain at Hartford’s Capital Community College.
A highlight of the ceremony will be a presentation by Simsbury High School students from the MLK in CT Memorial Committee.
Using the research they had done, the group worked with artist Peter McLean and architect Jay Willerup to develop a design for the memorial. The result of the collaboration is a beautifully sculpted memorial park to be located on the grounds of the Simsbury Historical Society.
They are now working to raise $200,000 to fund the effort. The group received a jump start in their fundraising with a $20,000 donation from Cigna. They've also gathered several smaller donations throughout the year.
“We are once again is delighted to honor Dr. King in a meaningful way, celebrating his life and his time spent in our community. We are happy to partner with the Simsbury Free Library and the MLK in CT Memorial Committees on this initiative,” says Deputy First Selectman & State Representative-Elect John K. Hampton, Chairman of the MLK in Simsbury Celebration Committee.
Members of the 2013 MLK in Simsbury Celebration Committee are: John Hampton, (Chairman), Sara Batchelder, T.J. Donohue, James Flynn, Angela Griffin, Pam MacDonald, Rev. Jonathan Morgan, Joan Rogers, Rick Wagner, & Tara Donohue- Willerup.
Members of the MLK in CT Memorial Committee are: Maggie and Taylor Willerup, Nikki Byer, Steve Byer, Rich Curtiss, T.J. Donohue, Michael Duff, Lisa Heller, Nikki Heller, Ali Heubner, Kyle Heubner, Margaret House, Conor Lyman, Sage Moran, Joan Rogers & Jay Willerup.
The public is encouraged to attend this FREE event and honor the spirit behind this day. First Church of Simsbury is located at 689 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury. For questions or information, please contact Mr. Hampton at 860.830.4072 or email him at John.Hampton@cga.ct.gov.