Seeking love, compassion, respect and racial harmony for all people.




The Committee for King welcomes each of you to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s devotion to social justice, anti-poverty initiatives, and the use of nonviolence to promote healing and harmony among all people continues to inspire us today, more than fifty years after his death. As a local organization, we continue Dr. King’s legacy through these celebratory weekend events for all members of our community, regardless of age, race, faith, socioeconomic background, etc., as well as through evolving initiatives lead by our NextGen group of volunteers. You are welcome and encouraged to participate throughout the year.


Committee for King members have been hard at work on refreshing our brand and updating our vision and mission to reflect modern day technology and perspectives while remaining true to Dr. King’s bedrock philosophy. During the pandemic, we have adjusted our programming for the health and safety of our community members. We encourage you to either attend weekend events in-person, following current Covid protocols; watch the live stream of Friday and Sunday programs; or enjoy future recordings posted on this website to engage with the 2022 Committee for King offerings. We welcome your feedback on our Contact page as we work to update and improve.


CFK is not the only local organization whose vision and mission reflects Dr. King’s values. We give thanks for so many in our community who do good work every day to bring positive change to Tupelo, Lee County and Northeast Mississippi.


Dr. King’s life is a continuing inspiration AND challenge for each of us. As he stated, “The time is always right to do the right thing.” We look forward to greeting you in 2022, as together we

move toward the dream of love, compassion, respect, and harmony for all people.


PAST: Committee for King began as a City of Tupelo initiative in 1986 to recognize and celebrate the federally mandated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Alderman Boyce Grayson initiated the concept with then Mayor Jack Marshall. City Personnel Director Charles Penson was tasked with coordinating the event, and local businesses and individuals were solicited to support the inaugural program at the Tupelo Civic Auditorium and the reception afterwards in the foyer. City employees volunteered to make the program and reception a success. By November of 1986, local citizens, led by attorney Kenneth Mayfield, businesswoman Lola McKinney, and Alderman Boyce Grayson, came together to officially organize the Committee for King. Over the next ten years, the group led the way to re-name part of Highway 45 bypass as “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.”, rename Green Street School “King Elementary School”, and continued to sponsor annual MLK weekend programs with diverse, dynamic speakers. From 1995-2000, the Lee County Chapter of the NAACP led by Viola Foster assumed responsibility for the work of Committee for King. In 2000, Tupelo citizens again moved forward the organization’s vision of advocating for “love, compassion, respect, and racial harmony for all people”.

PRESENT: After a period of discernment in 2018-2019, Committee for King Board members hired marketing firm LikeMind to assist in the task of re-envisioning and re-branding Committee for King. The Board seeks to increase diversity of age, race, religion, socioeconomic status, etc. on the Committee for King and in the program participants and attendees. The Board looks to expand its work beyond the annual MLK weekend. Members of the Board believe that in order to extend Dr. King’s legacy of social justice, anti-poverty initiatives, and use of nonviolence, we must look for additional ways to meet the needs of the community. The current aging Board needs help with technology and social media communication. A NextGen subcommittee of diverse citizens in their twenties, thirties, and forties are planning new initiatives such as “Shine a Light” and “A Seat at the Table” to add depth to our current programs, and to assist with technology gaps. The Board actively seeks participation from those in the community who value Dr. King’s principles to keep his legacy relevant in our shared community now and into the FUTURE.


Betty Beene

Lindsay Brett

Shawn Brevard

Kana Crumby

Carmen Gary

Marcus Gary

Leticia Gassaway

Janette Kirk

Rodney Long

Zell Long

Hannah Maharrey

Eloise Mayfield

Lola McKinney

Tabitha McRunnels

Cassandra Moore

Charles Moore

Florine Nails

Charles Penson

Maurice Shumpert

Martha Swinney

Willie Willis


Shawn Brevard: Chair

Carmen Gary: Vice-Chair

Willie Willis: Treasurer

Martha Swinney: Secretary

Cliff Campbell: Executive Director