Of the four people to be honored at the third annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner in Annapolis tomorrow night, none has had a longer record of service to the black community than the Rev. Leroy Bowman.
Bowman, 81, has served as pastor of the First Baptist Church on West Washington Street since 1943. He served as a commissioner and staff member of the Annapolis Housing Authority for 37 years, beginning in 1951. He has been a member of numerous organizations, boards and commissions, among them the Community Action Agency and the United Black Clergy, and has won many awards for his work.
But Bowman is perhaps best-known for his work in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In the early 1960s, he led a picket line in front of a West Street restaurant that refused to serve blacks. The restaurant, located where the Loews Annapolis Hotel stands now, eventually served blacks. It was the first restaurant in Annapolis to be desegregated.
In the tense days following King's assassination in April 1968, Bowman walked the streetsof the city's old Fourth Ward ghetto with several other community leaders, cooling tempers. Dozens were killed in riots in other cities, but no one was hurt in Annapolis.
Bowman said of the award, "I don't deserve it. I've just been working with very cooperative people. Iwas fortunate to be in the right place at the right time."
DariusStanton, 20, will be the youngest person honored at the dinner. Stanton, a 1988 graduate of Annapolis High School, works as youth coordinator for the county Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs. In the year Stanton has held the job, he has held workshops and programs on everything from self-esteem and cultural awareness to family values and living without drugs.
Stanton has lectured to more than 4,500 people. He often has young kids chant his slogan,"Peace and Love." He has completed 1 semesters at Anne Arundel Community College and plans to return to finish his communications degree.
Gladys Bellows, who was selected as Anne Arundel County's outstanding senior citizen in August 1989, also will be honored. Bellows is a volunteer in the Community Action Agency and a co-founder of the Lula G. Scott Community Center in Shady Side. She is active in several senior organizations, among them the Anne Arundel County Council on Aging.
The Rev. Lloyd E.Marcus, pastor of St. John and Mount Winans United Methodist churches, will also be honored. Marcus followed his dream to become a pastorwhen he retired from the Baltimore City Fire Department. He will soon graduate from Morgan State University with a degree in religion andphilosophy. He is a board member of the Community Action Agency.
The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. at Buddy's Crabs and Ribs on Main Street. Tickets are $20.