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Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast 2013

L to R: Dr. Karen M. Whitney, president, Clarion University; Andrea Estadt, mayor, Clarion Borough; Rev. Tony Fields, Sr., St. Paul’s United Church of Christ; Dr. Jocelind Gant, assistant to the president for social equity/associate VP for international affairs; Sydney Williams, Clarion University student and granddaughter of Councilman Melvin Witherspoon; Councilman Melvin Witherspoon, keynote speaker; Dr. Brenda Sanders Dede, chair, 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast Committee/associate VP for academic affairs; and Chase Ponsford Masters, who recited excerpts from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. 

Clarion University and community representatives filled the ballroom of the American Legion on Jan. 21, 2013, to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and celebrate his contributions to society.

The theme of the breakfast was “The King Legacy: Inspiring a New Generation of Diversity.

“King’s legacy will live on forever,” said keynote speaker Melvin Winterspoon, “and we must not forget he was already a legend before his death.”

Witherspoon, who grew up during the 1960s civil rights era, was a standout basketball player at Gannon College. He founded Spoon’s Summer Basketball League, which provides a basketball event and educational services to Erie’s inner-city youth. Witherspoon, who benefited from the activities of King, is a member of Erie Rotary Club and became its first African-American president in 1995. He works full time for the Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General and was recently elected to Erie City Council for his third term.

In addition to Witherspoon’s talk, Clarion County Community Choir performed, winners of Clarion Free Library’s Martin Luther King Jr. poster contest were announced and Chase Ponsford Masters gave an impassioned reading from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The breakfast was sponsored by Clarion University Community Relations Committee and various Clarion community organizations, charities and churches.

Those attending were asked to bring a non-perishable food item.  Food will be distributed to Clarion County food banks through the First United Methodist Church’s “Love Cupboard.”

More information on speakers and breakfast activities is available at

Clarion University is the high-achieving, nationally recognized, comprehensive university that delivers a personal and challenging academic experience.

1/21/2013 8:00 AM

University and community kick off Martin Luther King Jr. Day with breakfast