Hedrick Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who began his career covering the civil rights movement, will speak at the Martin Luther King Coalition’s 33rd annual Martin Luther King Day Community Celebration. This free event will take place at 2 pm, Monday, January 19 at Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Manchester.
The celebration also includes an awards ceremony, remarks from Governor Maggie Hassan, live music and food.
The 2015 Martin Luther King Award will go to JerriAnne Boggis of Milford, President of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail and chair of the NH Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights.
Dorothy Krasner of Manchester will receive a special Community Service Award in recognition of decades of volunteer work in projects promoting education and civil rights. Student winners of the Coalition’s Arts and Writing Contest will also receive recognition.
Music will be performed by the Memorial High School Jazz Band.
The Martin Luther King Day Celebration is free and open to the public. It begins with a potluck meal and social hour starting at 2 pm, with the program beginning at 3 pm and concluding at about 5 pm with singing of “We Shall Overcome.”
After covering the Civil Rights Movement for UPI in Memphis, Nashville, and Atlanta from 1959 to 1962, Hedrick Smith moved on to the New York Times, where he reported from 1962 to 1988. In 26 years with The New York Times, Mr. Smith covered Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights struggle, the Vietnam War from Saigon, the Middle East conflict from Cairo, the Cold War from both Moscow and Washington, and six American presidents and their administrations. In 1971, as chief diplomatic correspondent, he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that produced the Pentagon Papers series. In 1974, he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe. He also won two Emmy Awards for programs produced for the Public Broadcasting System. Hedrick Smith’s latest book, Who Stole the American Dream? details the rising political influence of private corporations since the 1970s.
“In this year which marks the 50 year anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ‘Citizens United’ decision, Hedrick Smith will be a great speaker on what is needed to realize the promise of American democracy,” said Arnie Alpert of the American Friends Service Committee, one of the Coalition’s member groups.
The Martin Luther King Coalition formed in 1982 to organize Manchester’s first observance of Martin Luther King Day. From its beginnings, the Coalition has grown to include organizations from the worlds of education, religion, labor, civil rights, and social justice advocacy who all identify with Dr. King’s philosophy and ideals.
The theme of the 2015 Celebration is “the time is always right to do what’s right,” a quotation from a speech Dr. King delivered at Oberlin College in 1964.
Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral is located at 650 Hanover Street in Manchester. The program will be interpreted for speakers of American Sign Language by students from UNH Manchester.
For more information about the Martin Luther King Coalition, visit www.mlknh.org.