Citizens for Better Service annually salutes the achievements of scholars during its presentation of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Awards Program. Pictured (l-r): David Jamison, a former teacher and now teacher recruiter; Central High School teacher Brittany Mays, teacher of the year; Johnnie Mosley, founder of Citizens for Better Service; and Rosemary Winters. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley/The New Tri-State Defender)

Citizens for Better Service recently presented the 29th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Award Program in memory of the late Dr. H.O. Kneeland Jr., pastor emeritus of Union Valley Baptist Church Missionary Baptist Church, and the late Mrs. Julia Marshall, the longtime secretary for Citizens for Better Service.

The program was held January 9 at Union Valley, 1051 McLemore, where Dr. Kenneth Brewer of Union Valley M.B.C. served as guest pulpit manager.

Johnnie Mosley, founding chairman of Citizens for Better Service, welcomed attendees and set the tone for the occasion.

The afternoon program featured Kenneth Moody, special assistant to Mayor Jim Strickland, who delivered congratulatory remarks after an introduction by Pastor Elijah Marshall, the chaplain for Citizens for Better Service. 

Talented students from Ridgeway High School helped with the musical interludes, along with songs by Raymond Bowen of New Salem M.B.C., Monica Williams, Men with Soul, Spiritual Excitement and Lazarus Settle of Traveling Kings.

Evangelist Melva Banks of Christ Gospel Church, who was introduced by the titleholders of the Miss Memphis Organization, served as emcee for the program that was punctuated by the opening scripture reading and prayer of the Rev. Johnny Culp and a praise dance by Memphis Youth Arts Initiative.

Attorney Freda Turner of Memphis Legal Services guided the special awards presentation, with Peabody Elementary School teacher Rosemary Winters presenting certificates to outstanding scholars.