34th Annual MLK Scholarship Fund Breakfast ‘Like Homecoming’

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund, which raises money for college-bound seniors at Montclair High School, held its 34th annual breakfast on Jan. 16 in the George Inness Annex.

The breakfast was attended by representatives of city government, organizations, school board, Montclair Police Department and Fire Department.

“We’ve become more of a combined breakfast than we started,” said Carol Brown, the foundation’s treasurer, who has been with the organization since its inception. He said that initially the foundation had only two scholarships per year, but now that the foundation’s support has increased, it awards four or more scholarships.

According to Brown and foundation president Stanley White, the only problem is deciding who to award the scholarship to because of how many deserving applicants there are. Since 1989, the scholarship fund has awarded more than 130 scholarships to seniors and 30 book awards to students.

This year’s guest speaker was Daniel Gill, a social studies teacher at Glenfield High School for over 50 years. Former Councilor Dr Renee Baskerville attended the event.

“We must remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who encouraged Americans from all walks of life to work together to overcome obstacles,” Baskerville said. “He urged us to build bold dams to hold back the flood of fear. Let go of bitterness and rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concern. It’s more important now than ever.”

The Montclair High School Madrigal Choir performed musical selections such as “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “We Shall Overcome,” the Black National Anthem.

Cicely L. of East Orange. Tyson School of Art and Fine Arts students Dante Folson and Micerson Voysey spoke about how today’s youth can apply and apply the values ​​King taught.

Rev.Anya Collector Michael The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair opened the meeting with a prayer and reminded guests of events in King’s life.

“94 years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, 94 years ago,” Summler-Michael said. “It was 57 years ago that he came to Montclair High School from Union Baptist Church with the Rev. Deua K. It was when he gave his retirement speech in Rice’s honor. Two years later, his life was stolen in Memphis, Tennessee.”

In her prayer, Summler-Michael made a connection between King’s legacy and that of James Howe, the first African American to own property in Montclair. Howe was enslaved and freed in 1831 by Nathaniel Crane, who left him a home.

Residents like Florence Demming, a board member of the foundation, are proud to see King’s impact more than 50 years later.

“It confirms that Dr. King is still an important part of our lives, that people have embraced his philosophy, and that he remains the standard bearer of what is right in this world. It makes me feel good,” Deming said.

Gill’s speech was on the theme “Words Matter.” He remembers witnessing racism for the first time when he was 9 years old. He went to attend a birthday party with his friend Archie, whose name is Black. When they knocked on the door, the mother who was hosting the party told Gill that Archie was missing a chair and that Gill could come but Archie had to go home.

“I will never forget that day. It robbed me of my innocence. It made my good friend feel humiliated,” Gil said. Since then, he has made it his goal to actively fight segregation and was instrumental in desegregating schools in Montclair. The foundation honored Gill with a plaque commemorating the role.

Mayor Sean Spiller and Councilmen Peter Jacobellis and David Cummings attended. Cummings said: “It’s always great to come to this event. It’s like a homecoming… This year’s voter turnout shows that Dr. King’s life and legacy are worthy of honor. It’s a job well done by Montclair, and we recognize those who make a difference.”

The The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund accepts donations throughout the year. Email [email protected] for more information.

Community members enjoy breakfast at a fundraiser for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund at the George Inness Annex. (Credit: Talia Adderley/Staff)

Community members enjoy breakfast at a fundraiser for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund at the George Inness Annex. (Credit: Talia Adderley/Staff)