Palm Beach State College began hosting its annual celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2000. The event is among the College’s diversity initiatives, and it attracts hundreds of students, faculty, staff and members of the community each year.
In 2005, the College unveiled a 5-foot granite monument and named a courtyard on its Lake Worth campus—the site of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Breakfast — in honor of the civil rights leader. As part of the celebration, the College presents its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards to outstanding individuals who have made innovative contributions toward improving the lives of others in Palm Beach County.
For the first time in 2007, the College broadcast the event live on the Internet to allow students and employees who cannot attend the event in Lake Worth to still participate in the celebration.
Through the years, the celebration has included stellar speakers, including Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Jeff Johnson, an MSNBC contributor and White House correspondent for TheGrio.com; BET Co-founder Sheila Johnson; The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of Abyssininan Baptist Church, Poet Nikki Giovanni; Stuart attorney Willie Gary; Juan Williams, political analyst for Fox News Channel and National Public Radio senior correspondent; Xernona Clayton, founder of the Trumpet Awards, former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead, and others.