PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

January 18, 2014

MLK Support Group to hold 28th annual brunch

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — The Dr. Martin Luther King Support Group of Southeast Texas began with a promise.

When Coretta Scott King, widow of the renowned civil rights activist, visited Port Arthur in 1986, she stopped for breakfast at Hargie Savoy’s home. After the meal, King asked Savoy if they could speak privately.

“She came into my bedroom and sat right across from where I’m sitting right now,” Savoy said in a telephone interview. “I had such a great lady sitting right across from me.”

It was there that King asked Savoy to start a support group that would keep her husband’s dream alive. And it was there that the Dr. Martin Luther King Support Group was born.

“She asked me to do everything I possibly could to keep the holiday alive, because we fought 18 or 20 years to make it a holiday,” Savoy said.

 And at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 20 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — that support group will host the 28th Annual Martin Luther King Brunch at the Robert “Bob” Bowers Civic Center, 3401 Cultural Center Drive.

Ed Gordon, of the BET program “Weekly with Ed Gordon,” will be the guest speaker at the event. Gordon previously spoke at the brunch in 2008.

“He was well received by the community,” member Jacquelyn Timmons said. “He is very informed about Martin Luther King, and the celebration and the cause.”

As the date approached, Savoy’s phone began ringing with inquiries from people wondering if the group was still holding their brunch.

“Each time I have folks that call and ask me this, then I know that people are very interested in what it means,” Savoy said. “The energy has changed greatly, but it is very much there.”

With violence still ever present in today’s society, Timmons said that the brunch, and King’s message, hold just as much value in 2014 as they did in 1986.

“Mrs. King and everyone worked very hard to make it a federal holiday, so to be able to keep the memory and celebration alive for 28 years is very important,” she said. “In light of all the violence that we’ve had lately, it’s really important to get that information out there.”

The greatest service the group can do is hold the brunch at no great expense to the people of Port Arthur, Savoy said. Tickets are only $10.

 Savoy also emphasized that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an American holiday — not a holiday reserved for black people.

“We are all just one people,” she said. “The whole effort is that we can engage the comm. and let young people know that there's a chance out there for them in the world. And maybe we can all learn together and make a better place.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA