CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia Black Heritage Festival held Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration honoring his life with readings and songs.

This is an annual event for the festival that was held at the Kelly Miller Community Center in Clarksburg to honor the legacy of King by not only remembering what he said but also honoring what he did. This year representatives of the festival have included the youth in honoring the life of King showcasing and educating others about his works and speeches.

“So often when you attend these types of events, you mainly see adults involved. But this time I wanted to do something different. I wanted to put our youth in the middle of it. So, some of them were given assignments to look up Dr. King’s speeches,” said Franklin Hairston, Pastor of Central Baptist Church in Beckley.

Those youths were able to talk about Kings speeches and describe what each speech means to them. Hairston said he grew up reading about King and through his readings he has felt a personal connection.

“Because as I read his words, I almost felt like some of my thoughts were written on the page long before I could ever speak them,” Hairston said. “So, to be able to participate in an event like this, it’s such an honor, and what amazes me is that we look at this as history’s past, but I also look at history’s future because there is going to be somebody in the crowd who has not discovered Dr. King, who doesn’t know who he stood for and why he did what he did. So, to me this is an amazing event and opportunity for our community.”

Members of the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival encourage everyone to study the works of King by going beyond his ‘I have a Dream’ speech.