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The Sixth Annual Southern Maryland Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast

Rep. Steny Hoyer to Present “Realizing the Dreams” Awards
January 7, 2010
Press Release #10-001

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The sixth annual Southern Maryland Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast will be held Monday, January 18, 2010, in the Great Room of St. Mary's College of Maryland's (SMCM) Campus Center. The program will feature William Yoast, the high school football coach portrayed in the film "Remember the Titans," Lieutenant Christiliene Whalen, who graduated from Great Mills High School during the desegregation era, and John W. Franklin, of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History.  A full breakfast will be served, starting at 7 a.m.  The program will begin at 8 a.m. Tickets are $7 and are available at the door.  Early arrival is recommended as space is limited; advance registration is not required.  For more information, contact Marc Apter at 301-904-3690.

Whalen, Patuxent River Naval Air Station chaplain, will deliver the invocation and benediction.  She is a native of St. Mary's County, having graduated from Great Mills High School just after the desegregation era with its racial violence.  Whalen graduated from Harvard University and eventually returned to her hometown as a Navy chaplain. 

Yoast was a high school football coach featured in the 2000 blockbuster film, "Remember the Titans," starring Denzel Washington.  Yoast, who is white, served as assistant coach alongside head coach Herman Boone, who is black, in the early 1970s when T.C. Williams High School, in Alexandria, Virginia, was first integrated. 

Franklin has worked on African American, African, and African Diaspora programs for the past 22 years at the Smithsonian.  He serves on the boards of the Reginald Lewis Maryland Museum of African American History and Culture.  He co-authored a book on the Civil-War era with his father, well-known African American historian John Hope Franklin.

Representative Steny Hoyer, Majority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives, will present the first annual MLK Jr. "Realizing the Dream" awards.  The awards will honor four St. Mary's County residents who embody exemplary character as described in King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and who have made significant contributions to their communities.  One St. Mary's County adult male and female, and one male and female student grades six through 12 will be selected.  A $100 award and a plaque will be presented to the winners during the Prayer Breakfast. 

Also featured will be musical performances by the St. Peter Claver Catholic Church Gospel Choir and the First Missionary Baptist Church of Lexington Park Youth Choir. Masters of ceremony for the event are SMCM Black Student Union President Darren McCutchen '10, of Bowie, Maryland, and Jim Hanley, chair of the St. Mary's County Human Relations Commission. 

The documentary film "With All Deliberate Speed: One High School's Story" will be shown at the conclusion of the prayer breakfast in the Campus Center's Cole Cinema.  St. Mary's College professor Merideth Taylor produced the film, which gave voice to those who experienced desegregation at Great Mills High School between 1958 and 1972.  The film outlines the difficult transition period of integrating the segregated high schools' communities.  Following the film, Taylor will lead a discussion of the issues it illuminates.  The video is available to view on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=smcm#p/u/2/qg7TXldDgYw.  A grant from the PNC Foundation Legacy Project and the Maryland Humanities Council made the documentary possible.

The sixth annual Southern Maryland Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by St. Mary's College of Maryland, St. Mary's County Board of Education, and the St. Mary's County Human Relations Commission.

St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's, and The Princeton Review. Founded in 1840 as Maryland's "monument school" commemorating the state's first capital, SMCM is the state's only public honors college.

Some 2,000 students attend the college, which has the highest graduation rate for all Maryland public colleges and universities, and an SAT average for student admissions of 1848. The school's waterfront campus along the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland is home to the 2009 National Intercollegiate Sailing Association Co-ed champions.

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For more photos, please contact Katie Lanham at 240-895-4191.

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