It is the opinion of this committee that besides celebrating the birth of Jesus, the most significant national holiday observed in this country is none other than that of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Indeed, as celebrations and observances were held throughout this nation, many of us had an opportunity to get an account of activities from some of the stalwarts that were directly involved in the struggle for Civil Rights. Many keynote speakers at events across this nation were directly involved in the battle for Civil Rights or had a close connection with someone who was. This committee enjoyed attending such a gathering in the city where the idea and first MLK holiday was conceived and birthed, Petersburg, Va. Yes, I said that correctly! More to follow on the subject below. But first, let’s talk about the superb program that was witnessed in the “Cockade City.” On January 14, 2024, the city of Petersburg presented its “A Day to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.” program to a capacity crowd of over 200 enthusiastic residents whereby the keynote speaker for the occasion was none other than the renowned former NAACP Civil Rights Attorney, Brother Edward A Hailes, Jr. Esq. 1-74 Alpha. Among the many topics of thought and reflection, Brother Hailes Jr. spoke directly about his association with the city of Petersburg through his father, Brother Edward A Hailes, Sr. Zeta 48′. He recounted how his father spent many days on the front lines in the struggle for civil rights during their many years of residence in Petersburg. Also highlighted by the keynote speaker was how Brother Hailes Sr.’s time spent on the front lines of social justice in Petersburg had a major impact on him leading the charge for civil rights as the Executive Director of the D.C. Branch of the NAACP. Brother Hailes Jr. captivated his audience as he spoke about Dr. King’s several visits to Petersburg. Though Dr. King conceived the idea of “Non- Violence from Mohandas K. Gandhi, he modeled his movement from much of the work he observed which had taken place on the front lines in Petersburg. Regarding the city of Petersburg being the first to recognize MLK Day as a holiday, the committee pulled the information below from the city’s official website, posted on January 9, 2024, for you to consider.
News Flash • MLK Special Program – 50th Anniversary (petersburg-va.org): The City of Petersburg was the first locality to establish Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday as an official holiday. This action was taken ten years before Dr. King’s birthday became a national holiday. At the August 7, 1973, Petersburg City Council meeting, the City Attorney presented the ordinance he had drawn as requested by resolution establishing a holiday for city employees on January 15 each year honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Councilwoman Florence Farley moved, and Councilman Clyde Johnson seconded the motion that was approved. Recollections from that time suggest that the idea for the holiday came from the youngest council member, Roy’ Omowale’ Hines. #6868, AN ORDINANCE DESIGNATING JANUARY 15 AS AN ANNUAL HOLIDAY FOR THE CITY OF PETERSBURG AND ITS EMPLOYEES IN COMMEMORATION OF THE BIRTH OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING. JR
Petersburg City Council members in 1973 included Mayor Hermanze Fauntleroy, Vice Mayor Donald Houser, Councilwoman Florence Farley, Councilman Roy Hines, Councilman Clyde Johnson, Councilman John Slate, and Councilman John VanLandingham. Another interesting note about this account of events is that the Mayor of Petersburg during that time was Brother Hermanze E. Fauntleroy, Jr. Delta Omega 52′. (His story will be featured by the committee soon!). It is a well-known fact that Omega Men were at the forefront of the Civil Rights revolution in this country. We, the Men of The Mighty Third District, will forever pay homage to those Giants who constructed and continue building the “Bridges” of freedom for all humanity! The History & Archives Committee of The Mighty Third District hopes that you will take a moment to reflect on the contents of this submission, that it may provide Uplift, encouragement, and resolve in supporting the efforts of those still on the front lines of social justice. Attached are a few highlights of Dr. King’s association with the city of Petersburg
and its surrounding communities.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Brother Edward A. Hailes Sr- Zeta 48’
L to R: Third District KRS Brother Craig Branch-Nu Psi 96’, Brother Bruce R. Bennett-Alpha 75’, Brother Edward Hailes Jr. Esq.-Alpha 74’, Brother William Bland III Omicron-Omega 05’, Brother Kevin M. Smith-Delta Omega 20’, H & A Chairman Brother Terence Spence-Delta Omega 18’, Petersburg City Councilman Brother Arnold Westbrook-Delta Omega 99’
Yours in Service
The Mighty Third District History and Archives Committee
The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a bi- weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. Previous “Pearls” can be found at https://3rddistrictques.org/about-us/overview/monday-pearl/. The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we’d very much like to hear from you.
By Kevin Poplar|2024-02-05T10:47:01-05:00February 5, 2024|Monday Pearl|Comments Off on Black History Month Monday Pearl 2-5-2024