A continuing change of venue indicates that the local Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is growing from year to year.
Like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. William A. Dulin has a dream.
Last year, the local Martin Luther King Jr. Day memorial observance pretty much filled Plymouth Congregational Church to its 850-person capacity. The event was moved to Plymouth in 1992 after outgrowing two other churches.
This year, the event will be at Kansas University's Lied Center, which can hold 2,030 people. But Dulin doesn't want it to stop there.
"My dream still remains that someday it will be in Allen Fieldhouse (capacity 15,800), but I think the Lied Center will be comfortable for awhile," Dulin said.
This is the ninth year that the Ecumenical Fellowship Inc., a group of local churches, has coordinated the King celebration. Dulin is president of the fellowship.
"It's been exciting to watch it grow over the years," Dulin said. "Last year Plymouth was pretty full. This is an opportunity to take the celebration to a new place and a bigger place."
The free event will be at 1 p.m. on Jan. 17.
The Rev. Frederick G. Sampson, pastor of the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit will be the keynote speaker. Sampson, who was jailed several times for his participation in the civil rights movement, also was the featured speaker two years ago.
The Ecumenical Fellowship also has activities planned for the two days preceding Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
A dinner banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Kansas Union Ballroom at Kansas University. Tony Brown, host and executive producer of the television show "Tony Brown's Journal," will speak after the dinner.
"Tony Brown's Journal" is the nation's longest-running television series on black affairs. Brown also was host and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated "Black Journal." At the banquet, Brown will speak on "Building a Healthy Community, Patience to Toil."
The weekend celebration will continue with a Gospel Extravaganza at 6 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Lawrence High School auditorium, 1901 La.
Music will be provided by the Martin Luther King Community Choir, which is under the direction of the Ecumenical Fellowship. The choir held its first practice Wednesday.
Anita Martin, coordinator of the musical program, said all local youth are invited to participate in the choir. Those interested in participating can contact Martin at 842-2460.
Others performing in the Gospel Extravaganza will be the Inspirational Gospel Choir from Lawrence's Church of God. The Bethel College Choir from Newton will be on hand, as will Daniel Jackson of Topeka and Robert Watson of Kansas City. The musical program is free.
Tickets for the Saturday banquet or for Tony Brown's lecture can be purchased from Cross Reference Bookstore, the KU Minority Affairs Office or KU's Student Union Activities. Tickets also can be obtained by calling the Dulin residence, 843-8913.
Students in grades kindergarten through 12 and college students with identification may attend the lecture at no cost. Students also can attend both the banquet and lecture at a reduced cost.