The 7th Annual South Carolina Heritage and Humanities Festival will be held stone held on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Eutawville Community Center.

Activities will get under way at 3 p.m.

This year's event will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his death of Dr. Martin Luther King and Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, who often wrote propelling and inspiring lyrics about reaching dreams. The festival's theme will be “Moving Closer Towards the Dream: 50 Years after MLK.”

“There is no doubt that over the past five decades since the assassination of the slain civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., race relations (have) improved; society has tilted towards a more respectable decorum as it relates to understanding different people from different perspectives," said Byron Brown, festival organizer.

"We ought to be excited to hail the tremendous efforts of Dr. King and treasure the ideals he promoted during his lifespan," he said.

Dr. Darius McCarthy, a native of Orlando, Florida and former Los Angeles Rams’ wide receiver, will be keynote speaker for the event.

“In Dr. McCarthy, we will witness the powerful voice of a quiet and humble persona delivering sound and practical advice for all people to live peacefully and harmoniously together in the 21st century,” Brown said. “Dr. McCarthy does not allow his former status as an NFL player to get in his way of serving humanity and building stronger bridges of unity for all racial and ethnical groups."

Eutawville Police Chief Steven Holloway will offer remarks in promoting MLK's vision of nonviolence. Eutawville Town Councilman Rev. Harry L. Brown will offer special remarks and the closing prayer.

New to the festival this year will be a poetry recital contest. Students from around the state will compete for three top awards by reciting poetry by Langston Hughes. They will be judged on eye contact, projection, articulation, confidence and creativity in their presentations by educators, ministers and community leaders.

Performing at the event will be national award-winning gospel singer Gospel Lioness. Also performing will be national recording group Trinity Mass Choir of Charleston. Back this year as mistress of ceremonies will be LaQuitcha Washington, better known as Lady Q, an Atlanta comedian.

The festival will also feature vendors and refreshments.

Admission to the 7th Annual South Carolina Heritage and Humanities Festival is free.

“As in the case of the past several years, we expect attendance to be at full capacity," Brown said. "The organic growth and participatory motivation for the festival remains high. The people seem to be enjoying themselves as each year many are requesting to be a part of (it)."

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