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Oxnard Plans Weekend of Tribute to Rev. King

Times Staff Writer

Oxnard’s annual celebration of the achievements and vision of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will bring together black civic leaders, artists and educators in a weekend of tribute.

Activities begin at the Carnegie Art Museum at 7 p.m. Friday with a talk by Lonnie G. Bunch III, curator of the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles. Bunch will introduce an exhibit of about 80 photographs by black artists from 1840 to 1940, on loan to the Carnegie museum from the New York Public Library until mid-February.

The commemoration of King’s birthday--he would have been 60 Sunday--concludes Monday with an 8:30 a.m. march and prayer breakfast at Oxnard Community Center and a 2 p.m. workshop on the black family at Oxnard College.

‘Unfulfilled Dream’

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The theme for this year’s event is “The Unfulfilled Dream.” This is the sixth statewide celebration and the fourth year of national recognition of King’s birthday.

“We’re doing these things because there is a need for awareness of black contributions not just in the black community, but in the total community,” said one of the event’s organizers, Bedford Pinkard, who supervises the Oxnard Recreation Department.

King’s vision for the future, described in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, remains unrealized, Pinkard said. “We’ve come a long way, but we’re digressing a bit,” he said, adding that equality in education and employment remain far off.

Keynote Address

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At Monday’s breakfast, expected to draw 800 participants, educator Julia Hare of San Francisco’s Black Think Tank will deliver the keynote address, after which Ventura County NAACP representative John Hatcher will provide a commentary on “Keeping the Dream Alive.”

Music by the St. Paul’s Baptist Church Choir will also be featured.

The march starts at Plaza Park and ends at the community center. At the workshop, Hare and her husband, Nathan, will discuss how to rebuild a strong black family. A holder of doctorates in psychology and sociology, Nathan Hare was a pioneer of the movement that resulted in campus black studies programs.

King’s birthday will also be marked this weekend by California Lutheran University’s Black Student Union, which will present music and dramatic readings that reflect on the life of the slain civil rights leader and minister. This event will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Preus-Brandt Forum at the Thousand Oaks campus.

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