Four years ago, more than 300 locals celebrated the election of America’s first African-American president with a “Washington on the Pasquotank” black-tie inaugural ball at the K.E. White Center.
On Jan. 21, Barack Obama will be sworn in for a second term, so locals will again be celebrating with a second “Washington on the Pasquotank” black-tie inaugural ball, also at the White Center.
This year’s Obama inaugural celebration, however, will be bigger and better, organizers say. The ball will cap a weekend of meetings and seminars — all open to the public — on issues ranging from politics, religion, education and health care.
“We’re trying to raise awareness and keep these issues on the table, because they’re on the table anyway,” said Ernest Sutton, an event organizer.
Obama’s inauguration happens to fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which means that in addition to celebrating the president’s re-election, locals will also be celebrating the slain civil rights leader’s legacy as well.
Also, former Gov. Bev Perdue will be honored for her “exemplary service as a public servant and governor over the past four years,” Sutton said.
Hezekia Brown, event co-organizer, said events will start Friday with a performance of “The Parchman Hour,” a play by Mike Wiley that depicts the hardships “Freedom Riders” endured fighting racism in the South in the early 1960s.
Tickets for the 7 p.m. performance at Arts of the Albemarle are $20.
On Saturday, Jan. 19, a panel discussion will be held at Faithway Church of Jesus, 304 Bell St., Elizabeth City.
On Sunday, a program entitled “Where Do We Go From Here?” will be held at Mount Lebanon AME Zion Church starting at 11 a.m.
On Monday, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast will be held at the White Center, followed by the traditional King celebration march that ends in Elizabeth City’s downtown. Tickets to the breakfast are $15.
Later that evening, the black-tie ball will be held at the White Center, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50, and proceeds go to the ECSU Foundation for scholarships.
For more information, contact Brown at 335-2439 or Sutton at 333-6472.
; Cecil Perry, 335-4694; Mary Walker, 335-5846; or Mary McFarland, 3337-6358.