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50th Anniversary of City of Petersburg Officially Recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to be Celebrated on Dr. King’s Birthday
The City of Petersburg was the first locality to establish Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday as an official holiday. This action was taken 10 years prior to Dr. King’s birthday becoming 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.
The City of Petersburg will honor Dr. King in a special program, open to the public, at the Petersburg Public Library on January 15, 2023, starting at 3pm (doors open at 2:30pm). The Petersburg Public Library is located at 201 W. Washington Street.
Major General Barrye L. Price, U.S. Army, Retired President and CEO, CADCA will be the guest speaker. He is a Distinguished Military Graduate of the University of Houston's College of Business Administration and earned a Master of Arts Degree in History from Texas A&M University. In 1997 he became the first African American to obtain a doctorate from the Department of History from Texas A&M University.
The program will also include a special musical performance by Rodney Stith.
Guests are asked to bring canned goods for event admission. The first 100 people to arrive will receive a commemorative gift.