Bennett College Interim President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins has been tapped as the keynote speaker at The Ministerial Alliance of Reidsville and Vicinity’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. observance.
The ceremony begins at 3 p.m. on Jan. 16 and is being held at First Baptist Church, 401 Hubbard St. in Reidsville. The public is invited to attend.
“It is an honor for The Ministerial Alliance of Reidsville and Vicinity to have Interim President Dawkins deliver the keynote address at our annual MLK celebration,” said the Reverend Dr. Joseph A. Bryant, pastor of First Baptist Church. “The Ministerial Alliance is excited about the leadership of Interim President Dawkins and the educational message that she will present to us. Additionally, we look forward to building a stronger relationship with Bennett College.”
Founded in 1874, First Baptist Church is the oldest African-American Baptist church within Reidsville city limits. Bryant has served as pastor of First Baptist for 23 years.
Bennett College already has a tie with the Ministerial Alliance. Its current President, Dr. Clarence Johnson, formerly served as chairman of fundraising for Rockingham County and during that time worked closely with Dr. Dorothy Colson on Bennett’s United Negro College Fund Campaign. Colson formerly worked as Director of Annual Giving/UNCF for Bennett.
The Ministerial Alliance has held a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration since the United States designated the slain civil rights leader’s birthday a federal holiday. In the past, event music has been provided by choruses from Reidsville Middle School and Reidsville High School – as a way of attracting young people to the celebration. This year, musical selections will be provided by The Citywide Choir of Reidsville.
Last year’s speaker for the Ministerial Alliance’s MLK celebration was Bishop Dr. James Woodson, pastor of St. James Home of Fresh Starts Ministries in Greensboro.
Dawkins, who has degrees from Johnson C. Smith University, the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University, said she was humbled when Bryant asked her to deliver the 2017 MLK address.
“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an extraordinary man who made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for civil rights for all people,” Dawkins said. “The lessons Dr. King taught us continue to resonate today as we struggle with issues of race, fairness and economic justice in this country. Bennett, like all historically black colleges and universities, certainly benefited from Dr. Kings’ efforts. I am honored to have been asked by the Ministerial Alliance, on behalf of Bennett College, to deliver a keynote address in Dr. King’s name.”