Black Excellence Ball, unity picnic to mark MLK Day in Lowcountry

Honoring MLK Jr.

Photo: Nobel Foundation

BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – Community events are being held in the Lowcountry this month to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The celebration begins Saturday, Jan. 18, with the 2nd annual Black Excellence Ball — a formal event hosted by The Bluffton and Hilton Head MLK Committees.

Organizers say the ball recognizes “unspoken heroes and champions within the African American community, all of whom embody the legacy Dr. King worked tirelessly to build.”

Many honorees will be awarded on Saturday, including the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Recipient, Mr. Thomas Barnwell, the 2020 MLK Social Justice Award honoree, Dr. Amir Toure, and Queen Quet, the Dr. Emory Campbell Gullah Geechee Gatekeeper.

Tickets are available for purchase in advance online at $80 or $90 at the door. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Head Island Beach & Tennis Resort.

The celebration continues on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Monday, Jan. 20 — with the Memorial Program/March/Unity Picnic. Local church youth groups and dance schools will kick off the day with performances at M.C. Riley Elementary from 12 to 2 p.m.

Any group interested in performing should contact Bridgette Frazier at (561) 452-3703 or Aaron Jenkins at (843) 384-8936.

Following the performances is a parade, starting at 2:30 p.m. on Pritchard Street. It ends at Oyster Factory Park with a free unity picnic from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Volunteers and food donations are needed for the picnic. Any restaurant or individual interested in donating food items should email bri30real@gmail.com.

Organizers also encourage the public to bring backpacks, snacks, non-perishables and school supplies to assist with their backpack buddies initiative. It’s an effort to supply students with much-needed items at the start of the school year.

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