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MLK Day celebrated in Charleston

Staff reports

Charleston Gazette-Mail

Residents came together Monday to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Charleston.

Local festivities began with a packed service at Asbury United Methodist Church in the morning, when David M. Fryson delivered the keynote address.

Deputy Commissioner Jacqueline Proctor, left, and Dr. Michelle R. Easton, right, prepare to carry a banner and lead a large group of people down Elizabeth Street in Charleston after the Commemoration and Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday at the Asbury United Methodist Church. The attendees marched from the church to the Capitol to join the Inauguration Ceremony festivities.
(Photo by Sam Owens)

Fryson is West Virginia University’s vice president for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and also is a graduate of West Virginia State University, a historically black college.

In his talk about King, Fryson said he imagined what it would be like if King were alive today.

 “What would Dr. King have done in terms of refugees and integration?” he said, recalling his talk for the Gazette-Mail on Monday evening.

Fryson spoke directly to his fellow West Virginians and related King’s message for them.

“I really talked about the needs of West Virginians, in light of all the things that have been going on, and tied it to the whole idea of King’s legacy,” he said. “So many of our people vote against their own interests, because they are operating out of fear.

“The answer to fear is love, not more hate,” Fryson said Monday evening.

After the service, participants marched seven-tenths of a mile from the church on Elizabeth Street to the Capitol Complex to take in the inauguration of Jim Justice as West Virginia’s 36th governor.

The annual celebration typically includes a reception and bell-ringing ceremony.

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