Because of a confluence of calendar events this year, two leaders in America's history will be celebrated in Beaufort County and across the nation in coming days.
Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations are planned for both ends of the county, and a Hilton Head Island event also will include the telecast of President Barack Obama's second inauguration Monday.
The Martin Luther King holiday falls on the third Monday of January. Presidential inaugurations are on Jan. 20 every four years, but the public celebrations associated with them typically are moved back a day if Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday, as it does this year.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND
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The Hilton Head celebrations begin tonight with a community service at Queen Chapel AME Church, 114 Beach City Road, according to Jenifer Gajdalo, secretary of the Hilton Head Island Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration planning committee. Featured speakers will be the Rev. Julius Scott from St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church and the Rev. Doug Fletcher from First Presbyterian Church of Hilton Head Island. The Hilton Head High School choral group will perform.
Also, volunteers are sought for a community service day from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday at All Saints Episcopal Church, 3001 Meeting St. Breakfast will be provided until 9 a.m., when volunteers will split into groups for projects. Gajdalo said volunteers of all ages are welcome and should come dressed to work.
Monday's ceremonies start with the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial March from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., which begins and ends in the Hilton Head Island High School parking lot. A program will follow in the auditorium, with keynote speaker James L. Felder, author of "Civil Rights in South Carolina: From Peaceful Protests to Groundbreaking Rulings," and the awarding of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award, Gajdalo said.
Obama's inauguration, themed "Faith in America's Future" will be shown live after the program, with a free community cookout to follow in the cafeteria, with food provided by local hotels, she said.
At 7 p.m. Monday, "The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till," a movie about a man killed after he whistled at a white woman, will be shown at All Saints Episcopal Church.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Committee in Bluffton will have a banquet at 6 p.m. Saturday at Campbell Chapel AME Church, 25 Boundary St., where speaker Alan Dunson, a teacher and track and field coach at Bluffton High School, will speak. Entertainment will be provided by the Boys & Girls Club of Bluffton, Campbell Chapel dance group, and Bible Baptist Church.
Monday's activities will include a memorial service at 1 p.m. at Bluffton Town Hall, 20 Bridge St., with the parade afterward through Old Town Bluffton. A cookout will follow at Town Hall.
The Beaufort County Ministerial Alliance is sponsoring the annual parade through downtown Beaufort, which will start at 10 a.m. The parade route begins and ends on Rodgers Street.
The Gullah Cultural Alliance, which sponsors the annual Gullah Festival, will conduct its "Brandyfoot Awards" Ceremony Fundraiser and Inauguration Gala at 6:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Beaufort, 2225 Boundary St. The black-tie celebration will include live music and televised inaugural celebrations in Washington, D.C. Community leadership awards will be given out.