FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- In 1963, a dreamer named Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in front of thousands at the National Mall and spoke about revolutionary ideas like racial integration and equality. King's dreams and actions won him a Nobel Peace Prize and fueled the civil rights movement that changed the lives of millions.

Fort Jackson will celebrate King's life of with a luncheon Jan. 20 in the Solomon Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be musical sights and sounds for guests, along with a keynote address from Dr. Pamela Wilson, the first female president of Columbia's Allen University.

"We're excited to have Dr. Wilson come speak because her serving as president of Allen shows the forward thinking that Dr. King fought to achieve," said Sgt. 1st Class Yolanda Brown, 193rd Infantry Brigade equal opportunity adviser. "Having her on post strengthens our ties with the Columbia community and helps Soldiers learn more about the city we live in."

The 193rd executive officer, Lt. Col. Jason Glick, said this luncheon shows Columbia that Fort Jackson is at the forefront in diversity and preserving the legacy of King.

"The Army has led the way with integration from the beginning. Since Fort Jackson is the place where almost 50 percent of the Army comes for training, it's important for us to set an example and show that these ideals are still important to us," Glick said.

The Army and Navy adopted policies to desegregate in 1946, years before King spearheaded the civil rights movement in America. King's fight for integration in all sectors of this nation still helped positively affect Glick's Army experience.

"What I've loved about my service in the Army is that even though we have ethnic diversity which gives us individual identities, our warrior culture is color blind," Glick said. "My civilian friends still deal with racial issues in their workplace. Here we don't see color first, we see the warrior. That's exactly what King would want us to see."

In King's "I Have a Dream" speech, he spoke of the importance of his children living in an integrated country. This year, school aged children will also be a part of the celebration to continue educating young people about King's legacy.

"There will be a drum performance by the Dent Middle School band and children from Pinckney Elementary will have their artwork displayed throughout the Solomon Center," Brown said. "The music and art give the children an outlet to express how they feel about Dr. King's life and his contribution to our country."

The theme for this year's luncheon is, "Remember! Celebrate! Act! A day on, not a day off," and the organizers hope guests will be motivated to make their own contributions to others in remembrance of King.

"We want individuals to remember Dr. King and celebrate his life and his legacy with us," Brown said. "We also want them to act and to get into the habit of serving their communities. So that is our goal, to build up and strengthen our community."

The luncheon will be catered by Little Pigs Barbeque. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased from the Equal Opportunity Office or unit Equal Opportunity representatives.

Page last updated Thu January 12th, 2012 at 09:47