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The Arkansas Martin Luther King Commission kicked off a busy King Holiday with its 25th anniversary Interfaith Prayer Breakfast. The invitation-only event took place Jan. 15 in the Grand Hall of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion.

Guests, who included a mix of appointed and elected state officials as well as other dignitaries, went through a buffet laden with eggs, bacon, sausage, grits and fruit.

The Rev. Charles E. Williams was master of ceremonies for the program, seasoned with remarks by Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, U.S. Rep. French Hill, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and state Treasurer Shawn Milligan. A prayer by state Sen. Joyce Elliott preceded a King Commission members' "commemorative" introduction of, and tribute to, Executive Director DuShun Scarbrough.

The keynote address was by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who acknowledged points made by the other speakers. Hutchinson noted that "heroes are so, so important to us" -- from the founding fathers and military veterans to King. "It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that made sure that opportunity was expanded and available to all," Hutchinson stated. "And he fought against the complacency of the day, the anger of the day, the ferociousness of that day in which there was discrimination as the law of the land." Hutchinson drew applause when he added that "today is the first day in history that Dr. King in Arkansas has had a holiday that is not shared" (referring to the Legislature's vote to remove Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from what had been a dual holiday).

Other highlights included prayers for the community and nation, offered by representatives of several faiths, and Scarbrough's revealing of a new King Commission logo.

-- Story and photos by Helaine R. Williams

Gallery: King Holiday Interfaith Prayer Breakfast

High Profile on 01/28/2018

Print Headline: Fit for a King

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