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Phipps to headline King Day celebration

ALBANY, Ga. -- Georgia Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Herbert Phipps is the scheduled keynote speaker for the 2013 King Day celebration at the Albany Civic Center on Monday.

The event will officially kick off at 5:30 p.m. The color guard at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, students from International Studies Elementary Charter School and the Rev. Raymond Polite of Christian Life Missionary Baptist Church are among the others expected to participate in the program.

The King Day Celebration is conducted annually in Albany as a tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his contribution to the Civil Rights movement.

King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., at the age of 39. He would have turned 84 this year.

"We are celebrating Martin Luther King, and this is a fundraiser for the Albany Civil Rights Institute," said Bessie Graper, a member of the King Day Committee. "We are keeping the dream of Martin Luther King alive."

The event has traditionally benefited the Civil Rights Institute. This year's event will feature the awarding of three Dream Awards and two Youth Dream Awards, given prior to an Albany Civil Rights Institute presentation by Charlie Crapps, vice president of the organization's board of directors.

Linda Harris with the local Court Appointed Special Advocates program, Strive2Thrive co-founder John Culbreath, Chosen to Conquer founder Colette Jenkins, WALB-TV meteorologist Yolanda Amadeo and Todd and LaDonna Urick of Mission:Change received last year's Dream Awards -- which are meant to recognize selfless acts for the betterment of the community.

The Youth Dream Award was a new addition to last year's program. Traedjon Washington of Lee County Middle School received the honor in 2012.

Graper said that overall ticket sales have been slower for this year's event. As of Monday, 37 tables had been purchased in comparison to 43 tables at the same time last year.

"It's the economy, I think," she said. "We hope it will pick back up."

Music will be provided by the Albany State University Chamber Singers. A live telecast will kick off at 7 p.m. with Phipps' remarks.

The cost to attend is $20 per person, and tickets are being sold at the Civic Center box office and at Odyssey Records on East Oglethorpe Boulevard through Thursday. Tickets are not being sold at the door, Graper said.

There will be seating at no charge for those who wish to view the program without dinner.