King celebrations throughout Mississippi

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — The life and accomplishments of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. have been honored in cities throughout Mississippi.

Some of the celebrations were an opportunity to honor men and women who helped carry on King’s vision and improve the lives of African-Americans. The Forrest County NAACP used its Sunday commemorative service to honor Hattiesburg resident Vernon C. Floyd, who opened the first black-owned and operated radio station in Mississippi in 1969.

Floyd still owns and operates 1580 WORV-AM in Hattiesburg. He and two of the station’s disc jockeys, Leon Franklin and Harvey Lee Knight, were honored.

“Mr. Floyd is a pioneer. He established a dream and a vision in Hattiesburg,” said Clarence Magee, president of the Forrest County branch of the NAACP. “We just want to highlight him. We see him keeping the dream and the hope alive even today.”

Floyd said he opened the radio station because of “a need in the black community.”

“They had no exposure, no outlet, no voice,” he said.

In northern Mississippi, Tupelo’s 25th annual commemorative service at the Tupelo Civic Auditorium honored those who strive toward making the world a better place.

U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., was a guest speaker.

“This day we come together, not because we’re all the same, but neither do we gather together in spite of our differences. Today we come together because of our differences,” he said. “Those things that unite us are far greater than anything that may divide us.”

In Gulfport, hundreds gathered at the Morning Star Music Missionary Baptist Church to honor King.

Monday was the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, though several celebrations took place over the weekend.