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On Sat., Jan. 17th, Ocean City will hold its 25th annual celebration to honor the life and legacy of DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. This was the first ceremony of its kind in Cape May County.

It was organized by the late Rozelia Cobb, a popular, special education teacher at the Ocean City Intermediate School. Rozelia realized the importance of the Civil Rights leader. She believed that young people should learn about his contributions and be involved in the event.

Those early programs included Ocean City students and local dancers and singers with the accent on youth. The upcoming celebration will also feature Ocean City school students presenting tributes and performing.

Rozelia spread the word about the achievements of Dr. King with her powerful programs.  She will be honored and remembered at this year’s Martin Luther King Celebration.


The Ceremony will be held 1 p.m. at the High School’s Hughes Performing Arts Center, 6th and Atlantic Ave. You will enjoy a great tribute of music, history and fellowship. It will be followed by a SOUL FOOD DINNER in the High School Cafeteria prepared by the talented ladies of the Shiloh Baptist and Macedonia United Methodist Churches, donations will be accepted.

There will also be a DAY OF SERVICE honoring Dr. King on Jan. 19th from 9 a.m. until noon. Sign up for supply distribution and lunch will take place in the Senior Auditorium of the Community Center, 18th and Simpson Ave. For information, contact Charlotte Moyer, 399-6111 ext. 9711.

For more information on the tribute events, contact Councilman Antwan McClellan (609) 517-6593 or Councilman Keith Hartzell (609) 289-1484.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on Jan. 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. King, both a Baptist Minister and civil rights activist, had a tremendous impact on race relations, beginning in the mid 1950s. Through his activism, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation. King is also responsible for the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 among other honors. He continues to be remembered as one of the most honored African American leaders in history and his “I Have a Dream Speech” is often quoted. King’s life and work have been honored by a national holiday. Schools and public buildings have been named after him and a memorial on Independence Mall in Washington, D.C. is dedicated to him. He is applauded for being a visionary leader who was deeply committed to achieving social justice through non-violent means.

The Reverend Gregory Johnson will conclude Ocean City’s celebration with a recitation of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech.” This is always an inspiring program and the organizers look forward to community participation.

BIG TURNOUTS: Ocean City’s First Night celebration and First Day at the Beach events were very successful. First Night attracted just under10,000 visitors despite cold, windy weather throughout the area.

We are pleased to report that the First Night Angel Fund was able to provide 60 free buttons to those who would have not otherwise been able to attend the New Year’s Eve Gala.

First Day at the Beach, supported by the HERO Campaign, was an amazing success. Both the run and plunge racked up record turnouts. According to Bill Elliott, HERO Campaign founder, more than 600 participated in the HERO Campaign 5K Run/Walk and 500 plunged into the Atlantic. Several hundred new designated drivers were registered for the Designated Driver Campaign and money was raised for the organization’s life saving efforts through the sale of long sleeved plunge shirts.

I worked the registration table for the plunge with Jane French and HERO volunteers. There was such a strong turnout that we ran out of BEACH NUT CERTIFICATES. These souvenirs are given to plungers to signify, “yes, they were brave enough to navigate the chill waters on New Year’s Day!” If you were a plunger and didn’t receive a certificate to show your friends and associates, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call (609) 399-6111 Ext. 9300 and we will send you one. Or you can stop by Room 214 at City Hall during working hours and pick one up.

A total of 1,000 ran into the water. The Boardwalk and Beach were jammed with at least 2,000 spectators.

NEW EVENT? We have been talking with the Ocean City Historical Museum about establishing a new event. It would be an OLD YEAR’S CELEBRATION. Folks would bring in their favorite keepsakes for display and give background information about them. I think we would see some very interesting things from the past. For instance I have a six inch diameter JFK campaign button (huge for such an item) that I’d like to show off. Plus a baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio when he was grand marshal of our Baby Parade in 1983. I also have a weathered outfielder’s baseball glove that dates back to the 1940s. You’d be surprised how small it is compared to the gloves that outfielders use today.

Do you like such an idea? Do you have treasured items you would like others to see?  Would you bring them to the Museum for an Old Year’s exhibition? Would you be willing to come talk about these items some evening or afternoon at the Museum or at least write down what they are and why they are important to you? Please let us know. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call (609) 399-6111. Ext. 9300.

The Ocean City Arts Center, 17th and Simpson Ave., begins its 50th year with a THREE GENERATIONS of ARTISTS Exhibit. Well known artist Lance Balderson joins his daughter, Jody Balderson Wiker and granddaughter Maddelinde Wiker, a printmaker and sculptor respectively through January 31.

A “Meet the Artists” reception is set for Jan. 9th from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Lance Balderson has a painting in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Enjoy a spectacular display by three generations of gifted artists. Call (609) 399-7628 for information.

The Ocean City FINE ARTS LEAGUE, 608 Asbury Ave., is featuring outstanding work by its judges from last year. The show includes artists Lance Balderson, Cathy DeMarco, Ruth Formica, Stephanie Godfrey, Cheryl Knowles Harrigan, Phyllis London, Stephanie Madsen, Annette Rinker and Jill Cucci Smith. Call (609) 814-0308 for information.