Over 1,000 (one thousand) community members attended events celebrating the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at FCL this year.
The celebration began on Sunday, January 15, with an event honoring the Tuskegee Airmen, young men who enlisted to become America’s first black military airmen. The Library was honored to host retired Lt. Col. Lawrence Millben, member of the Detroit Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, for an incredible afternoon of history, stories, and community.
Lt. Col. Millben shared the history of the Airmen and his own experience as the first African American B.O. Davis Graduate and first African American Base Commander of the former Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
After the presentation, Farmington Hills Police Department Chief, Jeff King, presented Lt. Col. Millben with a Farmington Hills challenge coin and an honorary street sign labeled with his name and call sign as a recognition of his bravery and dedication.
The celebration continued with a full line up of events on Monday, January 16. The day began with a Legacy March, a 20-year old tradition, led this year by the Multicultural/Multiracial Community Council of Farmington/Farmington Hills. Over 300 community members made signs echoing Dr. King’s fight for equality and marched down the 12 Mile Road sidewalk.
Michigan State Senator, Rosemary Bayer; Farmington and Farmington Hills City Council Members; Farmington and Farmington Hills Fire and Police Department officers; Farmington Public School Board m embers; and FCL Board members walked alongside the community during the March.
Following the Legacy March, students from Farmington Public Schools (FPS) held a panel discussion on race and racism, moderated by Greg Smith, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for FPS. A recording of this student panel can be viewed on the Library’s YouTube Channel below.
The afternoon featured a live performance by MLK reenactor, Anthony Lucas, and vocalist Ernestine Worford. Audience members were amazed by the beautiful music and lively performances of Dr. King’s speeches and story. Lucas and Worford encouraged the audience to sing, march, and hold hands with one another in the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy.
Directly afterward, the FPS Student Dance Company, led by Toi Banks, provided an incredible display of grace and beauty with a performance. Congresswoman Haley Stevens was present in the audience and took a moment following the performance to acknowledge the students’ creativity and work.
The celebration ended with the Library’s inaugural MLK Student Community Challenge, which encouraged local students to submit artwork that represented their vision of a future Farmington/Farmington Hills community centered on Dr. Kings teachings. Student work was judged by local civic leaders and awards were presented during the evening’s event. The Student Challenge is in partnership with the Community Equity Organization.
This year’s MLK Day celebration was sponsored by the Farmington Friends of the Library, the Multicultural/Multiracial Community Council of Farmington/Farmington Hills, and Farmington Public Schools. Farmington Community Library is proud to be a welcoming space for events like our MLK Day Celebration that build community and encourage learning. Have an idea for an event at the Library? Feel free to contact us!