MLK Breakfast

Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast

By Elise Foster

Officers, education chairmen, teachers, students and community members in their Sunday best attended the Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast on January 20 to listen to Rev. Joan Tarpley-Robinson. Tarpley-Robinson gave a speech that was moving and eye opening. She got to the core of the problems, without allowing any ill words to be said. She preached the acceptance of love in our society.

Rev. Joan Tarpley-Robinson is the pastor of Rosebud Baptist Church in Chatham, Va. She is known for her one-woman play “From Slavery to Freedom.” Tarpley-Robinson also taught math for 31 years.

Ferrum College President Jennifer Braaten; assistant director, student leadership and engagement Justin Muse; Michael Ferguson; Dr. Jan Nicholson and assistant professor of English Dr. Melvin Macklin attended the Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast. Students were encouraged to attend the event by teachers and RHE’s.

Two students, Lizzy Savage, freshman, and Amber Ulmer, freshman, heard about the event from the new Chaplain —Dr. Jan Nicholson. Other students who attended were Melanie Rooks, senior; Kasey Ingram, senior; Elise Foster, senior; Trasean Boatwright, junior; Brandon Greene, junior; and Alex Cain, junior. The upper classmen, excluding Elise Foster, were all resident assistants.

The breakfast was held at the Pigg River Community Center in Rocky Mount. Ferrum has been and still is a part of the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. on and off campus.

The theme of the breakfast this year was Moving Forward with Education. The breakfast raised money for Helping Hands and the Free Clinic. The breakfast is to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. in his quest for educating the youth and encouraging others to “spread the love.”

Mrs. Brenda Muse, a Ferrum college graduate, was the master of ceremonies. The welcome speaker was Peter Heck, a BFMS school student, whose mother, Dr. Delia Heck, teaches geography at Ferrum College. Miss Pigg River, Amiya Saunders, introduced the keynote speaker, Rev. Tarpley-Robinson.

Tarpley-Robinson opened her speech with an anecdote about when she started school, and how segregation affected her life. She stated, “We are going to move forward, and we are going to do it through education!”

Throughout her speech she covered bullying, teenage pregnancy, drop-out rates, and respect. When talking about bullying she stated, “We have to spread the love to get rid of bullying.” She said that love is the only thing that can fix anything. She encouraged the audience to embrace love into their lives as well as remember to respect their family. “Respect begins at home. Respect begins within you.” She prompted the audience to realize “we are all tutors.” Tarpley-Robinson reminded the audience, “If you don’t have love, you don’t have anything”.

The most important information in her speech was given on the topic of STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. She urged the importance of relying on American-built materials. She pointed out that if America wants bigger and better, we do it from relying on ourselves and not “our neighbors.”

Tarpley-Robinson left a resounding call to help those in need in all of the students who attended. She inspired them to be better people. Melanie Rooks said, “Personally, I felt a call to action when she said ‘We can’t walk alone: everyone in this room has a role to play in the bettering of our schools’.”

There was a musical arrangement after her speech performed by Ministers’ Wives. The food served was scrambled eggs, sausage, baked apples, a biscuit and coffee or orange juice.

One Response to “MLK Breakfast”
  1. Katherine Grimes says:

    Thank you, Ms. Foster, for attending this event and writing about it for those of us who could not be present. It is important that we all continue to learn from Dr. King and leaders such as the Rev. Joan Tarpley-Robinson.

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