Charleston, SC – Arnold Donald, Carnival Corporation CEO, and James Gadsden, U.S. Ambassador (retired), will keynote two premiere events during the 43rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, sponsored by the YWCA Greater Charleston. The Charleston area celebration, January 10-20, is considered South Carolina’s largest MLK tribute attracting some 30,000 celebrants annually. The theme is “One Vision, One Voice for Many.”
Since 2013, Donald has presided over the Miami-based Carnival Corporation, the world’s leading cruise lines. In 2002, Gadsden was appointed by President George W. Bush as U.S. Ambassador to Iceland. Currently, Gadsden is Senior Counselor for International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey.
According to Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., the 15th Annual MLK Business and Professional Breakfast set to feature Donald on Tuesday, January 20, 7:30 a.m., at the downtown Charleston Marriott Hotel, will be the largest. “700 top corporate and civic leaders typically attend this event honoring Dr. King’s legacy,” Riley said. “So far, 20 additional companies will attend the event as first-time breakfast sponsors, as overall civic and business support for the celebration continues to grow.” Since 2000, Riley has served as honorary chairman of the breakfast, co-sponsored by the City of Charleston and the YWCA. For advance corporate and individual reservations visit: www.ywca-charlestonsc.org or call YWCA 843-722-1644.
At the MLK Breakfast, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch of Clemson University and Anita Zucker of The InterTech Group, will present the newly created Joseph P. Riley Jr. Vision Award to inaugural recipients Dr. Mary Thornley, Trident Technical College president, and posthumously, to Dr. Theodore Stern, College of Charleston president emeritus. Colbert-Busch chairs the 13-member Riley Award selection committee which includes Zucker. The CSO Spiritual Ensemble will perform at the event and Rev. Randolph Miller of Nichols Chapel AME Church will be Master of Ceremonies.
South Carolina Congressman James E. Clyburn will introduce Gadsden, a Charleston native, at the 43rd Annual MLK Ecumenical Service, 4 p.m., Sunday, January 18, at Morris Street Baptist Church, 25 Morris Street, and present Gadsden with the Harvey Gantt Triumph Award. In his new book Blessed Experiences, Clyburn writes about teaching history at Charles A. Brown High school in the 1960’s, and mentoring Gadsden then a student at the school. “Gadsden was a very special student and someone I enjoyed getting to know during my teaching career, and we developed a friendship that still continues,” said Clyburn. “His homecoming symbolizes the importance of education to our nation’s youth.” The Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church All-Male Intergenerational Choir and the Divine Strength Chamber Ensemble will render music. Rev. Jarrett Washington of St. James AME Church will preside at the Service, open to the public. Clay Middleton chairs the Gantt Award selection committee.
WCBD TV Mirror TVs will televise the Monday, January 19, MLK Holiday Parade, with Baker Motor Company president Tommy Baker as grand marshal. The parade begins at 11 a.m., and proceeds from Burke High School to Ashley Ave., to Sumter St., to King St., and ends at Marion Square. After the parade, there will be a Youth Speakout and Poetry Slam, 12:30 p.m., free to the public, at CofC Science Auditorium, 202 Calhoun Street. Other free events include: MLK Panel Discussion, “Remembering the Civil Rights Movement from the Black and Jewish Perspective,” 7 p.m., Thursday, January 15, at Brith Sholom Beth Israel, 182 Rutledge Avenue; and the MLK Area Worship Services on Sunday, January 11, at nine local churches and a synagogue. Advance individual ticket reservations are required for the MLK Diversity Celebration, hosted by North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey, 6 p.m. Saturday, January 10, at Felix Davis Community Center, 4800 Park Circle.
For more information on the 43rd Annual MLK Celebration visit www.ywca-charlestonsc.org or call the YWCA 843-722-1644.