The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission held their 2017 MegaKing Fest, the largest nationwide celebration in recognition of King, on Jan. 16 at historic Little Rock Central High School.
Savannah Skidmore, Miss Arkansas 2016, spoke to the hundreds of people in the Central High auditorium of the virtues of service and King’s dedication to serve others at the event’s beginning.
“Dr. King spent his life serving others, and like him, I believe it is one of the best ways you can bring people out of their own homes and bring them together,” Skidmore said. “You don’t have to be Martin Luther King, Jr. or Miss Arkansas to make a difference and help bring the world together. You simply have to remember [to]love your neighbor no matter what race, color, ethnicity, gender, religion or social class they may be.”
Afterwards hip hop artist iHeartMemphis made a surprise appearance, performing his hit song, “Hit the Quan,” for the enthusiastic audience. Rap legend Slick Rick also performed at the event’s end.
DuShun Scarbrough, executive director of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, awarded the organization’s Humanitarian Award to Annie Abrams, a Little Rock community leader and civil rights worker who, alongside Daisy Bates, became involved with the 1957 desegregation of Central High.
Although actor and stand-up comedian Kel Mitchell was scheduled to make an appearance, he was not able to attend because of flight troubles.
The 2017 Mega King Fest emphasized a theme of “Passing the Torch” of King’s legacy to future generations. Disney starlet Skai Jackson accepted a symbolic torch in honor of this theme and addressed the audience with a short speech afterwards.
“It’s very sad to say, but in today’s society what King envisioned is not a reality in America or anywhere else in the world, but it is possible to say that his vision has impacted us,” Jackson said. “While nothing is perfect or complete in the battle for civil rights, the efforts of Dr. King and those like him have in fact, changed the country and the world for the better in noticeable ways. His vision has made the world a more equal place, and if not equal, it has helped to ensure that minorities have a voice.”
Following the MegaKing Fest, the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission held the service component of their event which consisted of free health screening, haircuts, job counseling and hygiene kits for Central Arkansas’ at-risk communities.
Photo Taken by: Sophia Ordaz