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Martin Luther King Jr. Day dinner sponsors scholarships

Heath McCabe, from left, Dystanie Douglas and Alyssa Brooks
Heath McCabe, from left, Dystanie Douglas and Alyssa Brooks

Three Abilene students will receive scholarships tonight as part of the 24th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner. The Abilene Black Chamber of Commerce sponsors the event, which celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and serves as a fundraiser for scholarships.

Two Cooper High School seniors and one Abilene Christian University junior will each receive $500 based on their grade point average and response to the essay topic, "How you’re building a blueprint of your life."

Heath McCabe will start college after graduating from Cooper this spring. He dreams of becoming a lawyer and wishes Martin Luther King Jr. could see how much has changed in the last 47 years. 

“I feel like he would like to know the extent to which we have become more civil than we were during the civil rights era,” McCabe said. “His work has made a difference. It has made a big difference in a lot of people’s lives.”

Heath’s classmate Alyssa Brooks plans to become a pediatrician.  She thinks African American history shouldn’t be confined to any one month. 

“I think we should just put all the histories together. I don’t understand why there’s a separation,” Brooks said. “Martin Luther King Jr., his thing was to get rid of the race barrier but we’re putting all of the black history into February but it shouldn’t be that way.  It should be part of regular history that we learn about in school.”

Dystanie Douglas is a junior at ACU majoring in convergence journalism with a multimedia teaching certification. She says African American history is full of heroes worth studying along with Martin Luther King Jr. 

“I just hope that on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or just any other day in general, that people will be willing and want to learn about African American history because it is a big part of America’s history and it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked,” Douglas said. “So I hope that with Martin Luther King Jr. Day that will kind of help them or motivate them to want to learn more. “