MLK Dream Tour

The cover of the “Passport to the World” being used for the Feb. 11 MLK Dream Tour at Panola College.

An upcoming communitywide event should help broaden awareness of the global impact of America’s civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., organizers said.

The MLK Dream Tour is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11 in the Francis B. Ross Ballroom in the Charles C. Matthews Student Center Panola College.

The event is free and open to the public from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

The event will feature an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on an imaginary trip to the seven continents impacted by King during his efforts to broaden awareness of the civil rights struggle around the globe, according to Sharon Roberson-Jones, founder and executive director of Excellent TEEN Choice.

The program has partnered with Panola College and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services to host the Black History Month event. Roberson-Jones hopes the “world tour” theme will help reinforce the impact MLK had, not only in the United States, but around the world.

“King’s message of peaceful civil disobedience was one that was accepted all over the world as indicated by the warm receptions he received as he traveled from one country to another,” Roberson-Jones said. To get a feeling for the vital role King played on the world stage, attendees will be provided a “Passport to the World” as they enter the ballroom at Panola College.

From there, guests will visit stations set up where they will be served foods representative of the countries, which will include Ghana, India, England, Norway, Jamaica, Australia, Bolivia and Ecuador, Antarctica and the United States. At each station they will get their “passport” stamped to show proof of a visit. Guests visiting each of the nine stations who have had their passports stamped will be eligible for drawings for prizes, including a television as the grand prizes, she said.

As attendees visit each station they will learn a little about the country, its culture and the impact MLK had there, she said. Panola College students from various campus organizations will be dressed in costumes representative of the country at the station.

In India, guests will be served curry chicken and banana chips. In Jamaica, the featured food will be jerk chicken, while in London the taste buds will enjoy a biscuit and Earl Grey tea.

Providing the international tastes will be Panola College’s food service, Sodexo.

From Antarctica will be Hostess Snowballs, while Swedish meat balls will be served at the Bolivia/Ecuador station. The Norway station will feature Grarlax and thin toast, while in Australia, guests will sample Vegemite, a dark brown food spread used in sandwiches, or with crackers, toast and crumpets.

The United States station will feature miniature corn dogs.

Among the lessons to be learned will be King’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 in Oslo, Norway as he visited the European continent.

“I accept the Nobel Peace Prize at a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States of America are engaged in creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice,” King said at the time.

In India, King said he wanted to visit to see for himself the results of Gandhi’s nonviolent campaign to end British colonial rule. The effort reinforced in him the leverage a peaceful movement for change could have.

“I left India more convinced than ever before that nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom,” King was quoted as saying at the time of his 1959 visit.

Roberson-Jones said the passport concept for the event should help broaden awareness of King’s impact on the world.