Morning Star Church in Martinsville will open an exhibit in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black history at noon on Sunday, Jan. 15, with items on display through Feb. 15. It will be open on Sundays from 12-2 p.m., and other times by appointment.
The Rev. Tyler Millner said the exhibit will showcase the life and works of King, including his books and books written about him.
“It also will showcase a model for celebrating the King holiday, which we’ve developed and ran for over 20 years, including a piece of the stone from the King statue in Washington D.C.,” he said.
The exhibit also features memorabilia on Black history and the civil rights era.
“I have hundreds of pieces” relating to “the Black press and the Black college. So, there will be a significant spread in that regard,” he said.
A display on the United Holy Church of America, the oldest Pentecostal church in the United States, of which Morning Star was founded, also will be shown, as well as classic photographs and images that reflect on the King holiday and Black history, with artifacts, visual arts, books, magazines, newspaper clippings, unpublished and published papers, and more.
Millner said he wants the exhibit to expose, showcase, and inspire people about Black history, “and hopefully draw the community into an engagement in the interests of promoting the beloved community and promoting Black history education.
“That is more than just pictures and posters, but really to be engaged with our experience and our past in order that we may be strengthened to go forward,” he said.
With the theme of “Together,” Millner said the group is saying that really the King holiday is an extension, or result, of Black history.
He added all the exhibit’s items must be viewed together as a composite in order to understand black history.
“The third thing is, if we’re going to get over race and build a beloved community, we got to do it together. It’s not a separate task that Black folks do over or against white folks or brown,” he said.
Millner said King had a philosophy and teaching of black and white together.
“He was really saying we got to do this together, the task of building the beloved community, the task of making sure the dream is fulfilled. That we must do together,” he said.
Millner also wants parents to bring their children to the exhibit, and have a conversation about King, race, Black history, and heritage.
“It’s not just abstract, you can come and sit down for an hour and have conversations,” he said.
A series of three lectures will also be held in conjunction with the exhibit. The first lecture will be about the King holiday on Monday, Jan. 16 at 3 p.m. at the church.
The other two lectures will be on the Black church, history and the concept of Black history education. Remaining lecture dates will be given at the exhibit. The church is located at 2839 Stoney Mountain Road, Martinsville. For more information, call the church at (276) 650-8755 or email Millner at firstname.lastname@example.org.