Group photo, from left to right: Dr. Margaret Gilmore, Samella Porter, Marcus Rivera, Rev. Floyd Hughes, Dr. Ronnie Hopkins (President and CEO of Voorhees), Rev. Isaiah Odom, Terri Franklin, Elder Priscilla Spruill, Dr. Cleveland Sellers
Office of Communications

Office of Communications

Voorhees University salutes community citizens in first-ever Breakfast to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Denmark, SC, January 15, 2024 – Voorhees University held its first-ever community-wide breakfast honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event, held on Monday, January 15th at 7:45 am on the Voorhees campus in Massachusetts Hall, brought together more than 200 members of the community to pay homage to Dr. King and recognize outstanding local leaders.

The focal point of the celebration was the recognition of the achievements of local citizens whose service reflects the commitment, spirit, and passion of Dr. King. 

Among the recipients was Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers, who was the recipient of the Drum Major Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Sellers, a Civil Rights activist and former president of Voorhees University, played a crucial role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, working alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His commitment to justice and equality earned him this prestigious accolade, celebrating a lifetime dedicated to positive change.

The event showcased the rich talent within the community, featuring the inspiring performance of the I Have a Dream Community Voices Choir. Comprising local singers who came together specifically for this inaugural event, the choir added a poignant musical dimension to the celebration.

Denmark-Olar High School junior, Reginald Youmans, delivered a powerful oratorical offering, reciting an excerpt from Dr. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. Youmans’ eloquence and passion resonated with the audience, capturing the essence of Dr. King’s vision and emphasizing its relevance today.

The occasion served not only as a tribute to Dr. King but also as a recognition of local leaders who received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award. Each honoree, including Dr. Sellers, symbolizes the spirit of leadership and community service that Dr. King embodied. 

Recipients of the Drum Major Awards include:

– Dr. Margaret Gilmore (Allendale) – former superintendent of the Allendale County Schools

– Mrs. Samella Porter (Bamberg) – A dedicated community activist and senior citizen organizer.

– The Honorable Marcus A. Rivera (Barnwell) – The first African-American elected mayor of the City of Barnwell, SC.

– Reverend Dr. Floyd Hughes (Blackville) – Pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church.

– Reverend Isaiah Odom (Denmark) – The longest-serving Bamberg County Councilman from 1978-2020.

– Ms. Peggy Tyler (Norway – Posthumously) – An educator in Denmark-Olar School District II.

– Elder Priscilla D. Spruill (Olar) – A pastor, community organizer, youth leader, and adult volunteer.

Voorhees University extends its heartfelt appreciation to the more than 200 community members who attended the event, contributing to the success of this meaningful celebration. The university looks forward to continuing this tradition, fostering unity, and honoring those who champion positive change in the community.

Click here for additional photos and a video of the event. For more information about Voorhees University and future events, please visit Tonya Hawley thawley@consultant.voorhees.edu) at 770.380.0053, www.voorhees.edu

Link to Video and Photo: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/9xe8jyhf4t99ss0ct8shk/h?rlkey=8x1jg9oeqzpejk0u93wkh0prm&dl=0

Group photo, from left to right: Dr. Margaret Gilmore, Samella Porter, Marcus Rivera, Rev. Floyd Hughes, Dr. Ronnie Hopkins (President and CEO of Voorhees), Rev. Isaiah Odom, Terri Franklin, Elder Priscilla Spruill, Dr. Cleveland Sellers
Group photo, from left to right: Dr. Margaret Gilmore, Samella Porter, Marcus Rivera, Rev. Floyd Hughes, Dr. Ronnie Hopkins (President and CEO of Voorhees), Rev. Isaiah Odom, Terri Franklin, Elder Priscilla Spruill, Dr. Cleveland Sellers

About Voorhees University

Voorhees University, founded by Elizabeth Evelyn Wright in 1897, is a private, coeducational institution affiliated with the Episcopal Church and the United Negro College Fund. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Its mission is to produce highly qualified graduates who coalesce intellect and faith in pursuit of life-long learning, healthy living, the betterment of society, and an abiding faith in God. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Voorhees as a #1 best value, #3 in social mobility and #33 among regional colleges in the south in 2022-2023; and #26 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, nationally. Additional information about Voorhees University can be found at www.voorhees.edu.

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