Hawkinsville museum carries Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

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HAWKINSVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Each day that volunteer Dr. Keith Green enters Newberry Foundation Heritage Center, he remembers the path paved for him.

“That’s what it stands for, to understand who I really am and to be proud of my heritage,” Green said.

Green grew up in Hawkinsville and says those who look like him weren’t always welcome.

“Up until the mid to late 70s when we had the theatre here in Pulaski County…African Americans had to go upstairs to watch the movies and the whites went downstairs,” Green recalled. “I can remember that as a kid in 1975 and 76 going to see movies.”

Newberry Foundation Heritage Center founder

Dr. Julius Johnson started the museum in 2010. He credits Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a big influence.

“We cannot sit idly by witnessing history,” Dr. Johnson said. “We’ve got to get out of the stands and get on the playing field. We have to act and be a part of making history.”

Johnson says the museum continues Dr. King’s legacy of togetherness by being a source to the community.

“We try to embrace his values in our food program, you know we feed over 250 of our residents once a month, our literacy program, and raising awareness around electoral politics encouraging people to be involved in our elections,” Johnson said.

Green says participating in building a better future for his family and community reminds him of why Dr. King’s work means so much.

“To be able to dream, to be able to know that regardless of what society says I should be, that I am greater than what the perspective is of an African American man.”

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.