HICKORY — The Hickory chapter of the NAACP plans to present a series of events in recognition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The presentations represent a collaborative effort supported by grants from the North Carolina Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, the United Arts Council of Catawba County and several local people and agencies.

The observances will kick off at noon Saturday with a bell ringing ceremony at Union Square in downtown Hickory. The ringing of the bell signifies personal conviction and community involvement and provides an opportunity for reflection on the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

After a program at 10 a.m. Monday at Lenoir-Rhyne University, members of the Hickory NAACP invite the community to join them for a march at 11 a.m. from LRU to the Ridgeview Recreation Center at 1451 Eighth St. Drive NE, Hickory. The group will host a community forum at the center at noon recognizing King’s accomplishments, philosophies of nonviolence and civil discourse and their implications for the citizens of Hickory. The program will include the play, “Freedom Riders,” by Tom Quinn, presented by the Theater Arts Academy of Hickory Career and Arts Magnet School students, as well as expressions honoring Dr. King by community youths.

People also will have the opportunity to view a Graphic Arts High School and College Student Juried Art Exhibition called, “Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr’s Legacy: Championing Civil Discourse, Racial Equality and Contributions of African Americans.” A preview exhibition will take place Jan. 20-29 at LRU’s P.E. Monroe Auditorium, followed by a total exhibition Feb. 4-29 at LRU’s Cromer Student Life Center.

Additional events highlighting the civil rights movement in America are planned for February, including:

» A free, ticketed, showing of the film “Selma” (time and date TBA)

» An MLK Jr. Quiz Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 29, at Morning Star First Baptist Church, which will challenge participants to exhibit their knowledge of Dr. King and his life’s work

More information on the events will be provided as it becomes available.

Other agencies and people supporting this undertaking include:

» United Arts Council of Catawba County.

» Lise Swensson, retired art instructor.

» Young Men of Integrity.

» Multicultural Affairs.

» Lenoir-Rhyne University.

» Theater Arts Academy. of Hickory Career and Arts Magnet School.

» The city of Hickory.

» Hickory Police Department.

» Joseph Hill Tutorial Program.

» Ridgeview Recreation Center.

» Morning Star First Baptist Church.

» Footcandle Film Society.

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