Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast honors legacy and those committed to it

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Selma tradition will continue Monday with the Links, Incorporated’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity Breakfast.

The local Links’ chapter works hard every year to put on the program, which remembers Dr. King and highlights those committed to his vision.

They will also welcome a special guest back home to speak about the importance of education and her childhood and early career in Selma.

Email newsletter signup

This year’s breakfast speaker will be Selma native Meria Joel Carstarphen, who is now the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. She is the daughter of Joe and Donna Carstarphen.

She has been with the Atlanta school system since July 2014. Before that, she was superintendent of the Austin (Texas) Independent School District going back to 2009.

In her 20-year career, Carstarphen has also worked for district in Saint Paul, Minnesota and the District of Columbia.

However, before going to work in major metropolitan public school districts, she started her career as a middle school teacher in her hometown of Selma.

Carstarphen earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from Tulane University in New Orleans and master’s of education degrees from Auburn University and Harvard University.

She would go on to earn her doctorate in administration, planning and social policy with a concentration in urban superintendency from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

It’s great to see Dr. Carstarphen back home and Chad McEachern is also deserving of the award he will receive.

In his new position, McEachern continues to raise critically needed funds to sustain outreach efforts for the poor and develop strategies to feed, clothe, shelter and educate the needy in the Deep South.

A multi-cultural children’s choir will also perform under the theme of “Celebrating the Legacy.”

While tickets are sold out, anyone with questions should contact Links member Charlotte Griffeth at (334) 467-5143.

The annual event helps The Links award scholarships to local students, who will also be honored during the breakfast.

The event starts Monday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 a.m. at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center behind Selma City Hall on Washington Street.