Martin Luther King Jr., Day 2019

Community members and leaders sing “We Shall Overcome” during a Martin Luther King Jr., Day march in Denham Springs on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. The march ended at Roberts United Methodist Church where a service was held in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., Day.

DENHAM SPRINGS -- A march and ceremony celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be held on Monday, Jan. 20.

The annual march and ceremony has been held in Denham Springs since 1993, seven years after MLK Day was first observed nationally.

This year’s celebration will begin with a march that starts near the site of the former West Livingston High School, an all-black school that drew students from Watson, Port Vincent, Walker, Livingston and Denham Springs before integration closed its doors in 1969.

The march is slated for 10:30 a.m., and interested marchers are encouraged to assemble at the L.M. Lockhart Center, located along Rodeo Drive/Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, by 10:15 a.m., said Fred Banks, chairman of the Denham Springs Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force.

The ceremony will take place once the march concludes at Roberts United Methodist Church, the city’s oldest church and its first African-American church that dates back to a log cabin in 1894. The church is located at 201 Julia Street, just outside the Antique Village.

The 2020 MLK Day program will include music, prayer, performing arts, and guest speaker Dr. Barbara Carpenter, representative for House District 63. Carpenter is a career educator who grew up in a family of prominent educators.

She also spent 27 years on the board of the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority and currently serves as the Dean of International Affairs and University Outreach at Southern University.

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