The Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Terrell was virtual affair this week with an online program that paid tribute to King’s legacy of promoting peace, justice and equality for all people.

The program, produced by the MLK Celebration of Terrell Inc., featured words of praise for the slain American civil rights leaders as well as musical performances, prayers, and a stirring recitation of King’s famous I have a Dream speech by Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald of Eastside Church of Christ in Forney. The program can be seen at

King was a Baptist minister who preached nonviolence and became the most visible leader of the American civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination on April 4, 1968.

Nathan Doddy gave the welcoming address, in which he said, “Last year, 2020, was said to be the year of vision, and certainly many eyes are opened. More importantly, hearts and minds are open as well. It became clear that Dr. King’s teachings of unity, service and love are needed now more than ever before. As we go into this new year, I encourage each of you to unite with your fellow man, to serve your community and to love unconditionally.”

This year’s MLK Community Service Awards went to Brittany and Devona Thomas, directors of the Bismarck and Mary Thomas Community Center in Terrell, which was established in 2016. The two were cited for their commitment to a myriad of community endeavors that benefit children, veterans and needy families.

The Spirit of King Awards went to the late Herman Furlough Jr., who died in 2009, and Gilbert Willie Sr., who passed away in 2013. Both men were longtime Terrell educators who now have schools named in their honor. Furlough and Willie were deeply involved in the community.

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