Scene & Heard: Alpha Foundation's Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast
( Photo by Karen Jackson, special to The Baltimore Sun / January 8, 2012 )
The annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast -- hosted by the Alpha Foundation of Howard County and the Columbia chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity -- not only honors a leader. The event itself, which was held at Martin's West, is also a leader.
The breakfast, now in its 37th year, is believed to be the oldest Martin Luther King breakfast in the state, according to Harry Evans III, Alpha Phi Alpha Columbia chapter president.
"This is the oldest fraternity of college-educated African-American men [in the country] ... We've had this program for so long, it kind of kicks off the season of MLK events," said Charles Robinson, event committee member.
"This focuses on a man who has done so much for the country. It's an honor to be part of this recognition; a pleasure," said Cecil G. Christian Jr., event chair.
For many attendees, the breakfast -- like the fraternity -- was a family affair.
R. Daniel Wallace, BITH Energy director of renewable energy systems, said himself, his father and brothers are all in the fraternity.
"It's my first breakfast as board chair. And it's also the first time my son, Brandon Barrett, is attending as a member of the fraternity. He first came with me in January 1984, when he was 3 months old. Now, he's a Howard County Public Schools counselor," said David Barrett, Alpha Foundation board chair.
In addition to honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, the annual breakfast helps raise money for the fraternity's Alpha Achievers, an organization of Howard County high school male students who maintain grade point averages of 3.0 or higher.
"They say education is the key to make America more effective in a global environment," said Sherman Howell, fraternity member and retired software engineer.
"It's a way for a community to show support for the legacy of Dr. King and [make sure] that it's passed on to the next generation," said Samantha McCoy, public relations consultant.
-- Sloane Brown
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