Corvallis' Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission has selected "Service to the Community" as the theme for this year's local celebration of the national holiday Jan. 18 that commemorates King's birthday.
King was born Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Ga. Considered a pivotal influence in passing civil rights legislation during the 1960s, King was a Baptist minister, civic leader and peace activist who opposed the Vietnam war. His work in civil rights won him the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968, by James Earl Ray, a habitual criminal who served 30 years for the crime and died in prison in 1998.
The public is invited to join a local celebration of King's life at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Corvallis High School auditorium. A diverse four-member panel will share their individual perceptions and experiences on the theme of community service.
The panel members are Corvallis Mayor Charles Tomlinson; Jennifer Moore, the executive director of United Way of Benton and Lincoln counties; Julie Manning, who is head of the public relations department at Good Samaritan Medical Group; and Terryl Ross, the director of the office of diversity development at Oregon State University.
The winners of the high school essay contest addressing that theme will be announced. Forty-four students entered, and the winner receives a $1,000 scholarship.
The Fiesta Mexicano 4-H dancers club will perform. A reception is scheduled in the CHS theater lobby after the program.