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Breakfast Bonus–The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., distinguished pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, who is recognized across the continent as an eloquent speaker and spiritually grounded man of God, comes this way next month

Breakfast Bonus–The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., distinguished pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, who is recognized across the continent as an eloquent speaker and spiritually grounded man of God, comes this way next month to keynote Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Annual Interfaith Breakfast, “King: A Man of Vision,” at the Hilton Chicago Hotel. The gathering celebrates the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Moss was called to the ministry at the age of 17 while a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta and went on to serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees at Morehouse from 1994-2005. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse and a Master of Divinity degree from Morehouse’s School of Religion/Inter-Denominational Theological Center and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in 1990.

During his early days in the ministry, he was part of the inner circle of many outstanding theologians, such as Dr. Benjamin E. Mays and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., both of whom provided friendship, leadership and spiritual guidance. Dr. Moss has pastored at several congregations in the LaGrange-Atlanta areas (including co-pastoring with Dr. King Martin Luther King Sr. at Ebenezer Baptist Church, further developed at Mt. Zion [Cincinnati, Ohio]), where he has just celebrated his 33rd Pastoral Anniversary.

Dr. Moss is married to Edwina Moss, and they are the proud parents of three children: Kevin, Daphne (deceased) and Otis III, pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ; grandparents of Alexis, Andre, Kevin Jr. (deceased) and Elijah Wynton Taylor and Makayla Elson and great grandparents to Nikayla.

Incidentally, enroute to the 2008 King Interfaith Breakfast last January, I took a major tumble at the Michigan Avenue and Balbo Street CTA bus stop, broke my ankle in two places, missed the breakfast and was laid up for a couple of months. Got to be more careful!

Reality Check!–A major retrospective exhibit on the life and work of Chicago Renaissance sculptor and social activist, Marion Perkins, will be on review for 11 months in the Chicago Public Library’s Vivian G. Harsh Collection of the Afro-American History and Literature, beginning Jan. 31 and continuing through Dec. 31, at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted.

To See Reality in a New Light: The Art & Activism of Marion Perkins will include sculptures by Perkins on loan to the Harsh Collection on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago and the DuSable Museun of African American History as well as from members of the Perkins family, art galleries and private collections. The exhibit also features original correspondence, rare photographs and memorabilia from the holdings of the Harsh Research Collection.

A special free opening program will be held on Jan. 31 at 1: 30 p.m. featuring a panel of distinguished speakers, including Useni Perkins and Toussaint Perkins, Marion Perkins’ sons; Dr. Margaret Burroughs, DuSable Museum founder; Haki Madhubuti, Chicago author and poet; Calvin Jones, Chicago muralist; Daniel Schulman, art historian; Elisie Ward, daughter of Chicago Renaissance playwright Theodore Ward; and Douglas Williams, Chicago sculptor.

Perkins began to carve as an artistic “pastime,” and after taking some sculpture classes, became recognized as an artist with immense talent. He worked as a laborer all of his life, and although he was never able to devote himself full time to his art work, Perkins became one of the most important visual artists in the Chicago Renaissance.

During his career he was awarded a Guggenheim and featured in prominent magazines and newspapers. His work was also featured in the American Negro Exposition. In the years that followed, Perkins repeatedly won prizes at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Additionally, he combined his unique artistic vantage point with a fierce dedication to social justice. In 1959, he became one of the founders of the National Conference of Negro Artists and gave the keynote address to its first convention. He died in 1959 at age 53. The Chicago Public Library presents this retrospective on the 30th anniversary of the last major exhibit his life and work presented by the Library in 1979 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

New Years’ Cheer–Popular patrons of the arts duo, Frances and Andre Guichard, plan to turn their popular state-of-the-art Gallery Guichard, 3521 S. King Dr., into a festive place to celebrate New Year’s Eve this Wednesday, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.. featuring the Sound Therapy Ensemble & Black Slang, DJ Bryan Sayles, a premium brand open bar, lavish buffet, midnight champagne toast, valet parking, discounted pre-sale tickets ($75). Wanna get on board? Call http://www.galleryguichardeventbrite.com.

Save the Date!–The folks at South Central Community Services want us all to “save the dates” of April 3-5 for its eighth Annual Women Empowering Women Conference & Retreat slated for the Wyndham Lisle-Chicago Hotel, 3000 Warrenville Rd. in Lisle. To save your space, call (773) 483-0900, ext. 231.

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