LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Martin Luther King Lynchburg Community Council is celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in a virtual manner on Monday afternoon due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but another community celebration in the city has been delayed for a month because of weather concerns.

The MLKLCC celebration is honoring the 60th anniversary of King’s visit to Lynchburg. While in the city in 1962, he emphasized the importance of registering to vote and voters’ rights, officials say.

You can read the City of Lynchburg’s full statement about the event below:

The Martin Luther King Lynchburg Community Council (MLKLCC) celebrates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the third Monday of January.  In past years, the celebration has been a breakfast in his honor. As a result of COVID-19, MLKLCC will hold a virtual celebration on January 17, 2022 at 1 p.m. The theme of this year`s event is Dr. King`s quote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

This year`s celebration is significant in that it marks the 60th anniversary of Dr. King`s visit to Lynchburg on Tuesday March 27, 1962. While in the city, he held a press conference emphasizing the importance of registering to vote and voters` rights and knocked on doors in the black community encouraging voter registration. Dr. King also visited Diamond Hill Baptist, the home of Poet Anne Spencer, and Lodge of the Fishermen at Cosby Woods. He ended his visit with a speech at E. C. Glass.  

The 2022 event will include a keynote speech presented by Dr. Virgil Wood, the organizer of Dr. King`s visit to Lynchburg. Dr. Wood is a church leader, educator, and civil rights activist who has committed much of his life`s work to the struggle for economic and spiritual development among the nation`s disadvantaged. He also served as a pastor at the Historic Diamond Hill Baptist Church here in Lynchburg. Choruses from E. C. Glass and Heritage High Schools will provide entertainment.  

Each year, MLKLCC sponsors a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest for all Lynchburg City Schools` junior and seniors. The first, second, and third place winners will be presented with $500, $250, and $100 awards respectively. The first-place winner will present his/her essay at the event.  

Following the celebration, a video of a reenactment of Dr. King`s 1962 speech (presented by Chris Evans) will be available for viewing, along with a virtual tour of the locations Dr. King visited while here in Lynchburg, Virginia. These locations include the historic Diamond Hill Baptist Church, the home of Anne Spencer, Lodge of the Fishermen at Cosby Woods, and E. C. Glass High School.

Statement released on Jan. 10, 2022 by the City of Lynchburg

If you want to watch a livestream of the event — which starts at 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17 — you can do so on the Watts Creative Studios website, Facebook, or Instagram.

However, officials say some portions of the event that were scheduled to be live have been pre-recorded due to the weather.

You can also check out a list of Lynchburg’s closures for MLK Jr. Day by clicking here.

Meanwhile, the Lynchburg Area Youth Sports Initiative, the Lynchburg Chapter of the NAACP, and local partners have postponed Monday’s first annual MLK Jr. Celebration and Walk for Unity due to the winter storm.

According to city officials, the walk will now take place on Saturday, Feb. 19, beginning at the Public Works Complex at 1700 Memorial Avenue and ending at 5th and Federal Streets.

The event will start at 10:30 a.m. with registration and guest speakers, followed by the walk with activity stations, a youth history hunt with door prizes and giveaways, free refreshments, and a meet and greet with local college and high school athletes. 

If you would like to have a booth at this event — which is free and open to the community — you can register by following this link.