Brookhaven’s fifth annual MLK Day Dinner was held Jan. 18 as a pandemic drive-in event rather than its traditional home in the city’s historically Black Lynwood Park neighborhood.
However, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration continued the tradition of commemorating the Civil Rights movement, including the local “Lynwood Trailblazers” who integrated the local DeKalb County public schools in the 1960s.
The program was held in the parking lot of the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA Station off Apple Valley Road. Attendees picked up a Chick-fil-A dinner and listened to the speakers via radio in their vehicles. Roughly 70 vehicles were on the scene.
Among the speakers was Liane Levetan, the former DeKalb County CEO and state senator, who recalled her work with the late John Williams in bringing a swimming pool to Lynwood Park. Several other local leaders spoke, including Mayor John Ernst and City Councilmember Linley Jones.
“It was an evening of prayer and song and celebration, even in the face of this pandemic,” said Jones afterward. “ As I said in my remarks, Lynwood finds a way!”
It was the first MLK Dinner following last year’s historic Black Lives Matter protests, as a result of which the city agreed to install historical markers in Lynwood Park. The city also formed a Social Justice, Race and Equity Commission that will meet throughout this year.
–Photos by Phil Mosier