Bernie Sanders to speak Monday in Florence at NAACP’s MLK Day event

January 16, 2019 GMT

FLORENCE, S.C. – Former Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will speak Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Florence.

Jerry Keith Jr. of the Florence Branch of the NAACP confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the senator from Vermont will speak at the NAACP’s Martin Luther King event to be held at 7 p.m. Monday at Mount Zion AME at 1305 E. Cheves St. in Florence.

Keith said that the senator also will speak earlier that day in Columbia and that the NAACP made the decision to invite Sanders to speak in Florence, which he accepted.

Sanders joins Rev. Norman Gamble, the pastor of New Ebenezer Baptist Church, as a speaker at the event.

Sanders has served as a U.S. senator since 2007. An independent, Sanders caucuses with the Democratic Party. He was the primary competition for failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 primary.

Jan. 21 is the 2019 date of the commemoration of the birth of King, a nonviolent activist leader in the Civil Rights movement. King’s birthday is Jan. 15, 1929, but the holiday is celebrated on the third Monday of January to keep with a 1968 act establishing certain federal holidays (Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans’ Day) on Mondays. The holiday was added to the federal calendar by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts in battling racial inequality with nonviolent methods. He was a leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He led struggles against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama, and organized the 1963 March on Washington. King delivered his “I have a dream” speech during the march. He was assassinated by James Earl Ray in 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.

Contact Keith, the president of the Florence Branch of the NAACP, at 843-673-0693 or flobranchnaacp@att.net for more information.