McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 19, 2014

Banquet celebrates "Dream"

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — The grand finale of the local celebration honoring the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  happened Saturday night at McAlester High School.

It was annual MLK Annual Unity Banquet held in the cafeteria at MHS.

The theme “Remembering the Dream … Continuing the Dream played out throughout the event as members of MLK Youth Choir told the audience how their lives were made better because of MLK.

The choir is a group of 20 youth of different ages directed by Rosalyn Jones.

“I can attend the university of my choice,” one choir member said.

“I can eat any restaurant and go to a movie theater.”

Master of Ceremony James Brown welcomed the crowd, followed by the Presentation of Colors and the flag salute.

The invocation by the Rev. Anthony Washington led to a welcome speech by Mayor Steve Harrison.


Harrison told the audience about an interaction he had one of the members of the Pittsburg County Holiday Commission and said it was a great reminder that, “If each person could focus on what we have in common, and not what is different, the world would be a better place.”

Chief Justice Steven Taylor introduced Keynote Speaker Hon. Judge Martha Oakes Special Judge Oklahoma County.

Oakes told the audience about overcoming in life and how far Oklahoma has come because of the dream the Martin Luther King Jr. had.

She said minorities now have a chance to achieve their dream.

Her speech was followed by a presentation by the MLK Unity Choir directed by Loise Washington. Washington’s sister was guest soloist Crentha “Precious” Turner.

“She brought down the house,” said banquet guest Mike Parks.

The banquet closed with the MLK Unity Choir leading the audience with “God Bless America” and “We Shall Overcome.”

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at