An Atwater church will host a celebration of Black History Month this weekend with its sixth annual lineup of performances and history lessons.
Liberty Fellowship’s Black History Program will highlight an event in civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, as well as the accomplishments of local black leaders, at 5 p.m. Sunday at the church, 1900 Shaffer Road.
Felicia Roberts, chairwoman of the Black History Committee, said music and performances are planned during the celebration of achievements in black history. She said she hopes the program will be particularly effective on young people, connecting them to successful people of color.
“It’s up to us today to pass our legacy on to the younger generation,” she said.
Roberts said she hopes the program will show young people that people of color have been successful as architects, doctors, inventors and in many other areas. She said youths too often only look up to athletes, actors and musicians.
“It’s our responsibility to share history,” she said.
A portion of the event will focus on King, a scholar and pastor who fought for equality in a time of great unrest in America. The history lesson, Roberts said, will cover King’s stop in Memphis, where he gave the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in 1968.
King supported the strike there by sanitation workers frustrated with the city’s reaction to two garbage collectors crushed by a malfunctioning truck. The workers said it highlighted a history of mistreatment for black workers.
“We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end,” King said in his speech. “Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through.”
A community choir made up of singers from a handful of churches is set to perform, as well as praise dancers from two different congregations. The keynote speaker is the Rev. Brandon Jackson of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Madera.
The event has drawn up to 300 visitors in past years. For more information, call Liberty Fellowship at (209) 358-5701.