GALLIPOLIS — As February begins as a month of celebration and reflection on the history of African American, one Gallipolis resident will be working throughout this year and next to help carry on Dr. Martin Luther King’s work in Ohio to secure equal rights for all Americans through nonviolent actions.
Last month, Gov. John Kasich announced the appointment of Robert Gordon, of Gallipolis, to the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission. Gordon will serve on the commission for the term that began Jan. 7 and ends Dec. 30, 2015.
The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission was established in 1985 by executive order. The commission is a statewide advocate of Dr. King’s principles of nonviolence and annually honors Ohio’s citizens who work to promote diversity and eliminate discrimination through nonviolent methods. Each year, the commission presents awards to Ohioans to celebrate the life of Dr. King, whose teachings encourage nonviolent actions to secure equal rights for all Americans.
“It is indeed an honor to be chosen on the Ohio Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission,” Gordon said. “I am humbled to represent this region as the only member from southeastern Ohio. I additionally respect the opportunity to recognize residents throughout Ohio who work to keep Dr. King’s dream vibrant and foster his philosophy of nonviolent social change.”
In addition to participating in the commission’s annual ceremony that was held this year on Jan. 16 in downtown Columbus, Gordon recently contributed to the Gallia County Martin Luther King Jr. Day Program sponsored by the Southeastern Ohio Branch of the NAACP.
Gordon is an avid collector of African American memorabilia. In celebration of Black History Month, he will exhibit his collection at the French Art Colony. He titled the exhibit “Footsteps through Heritage.” Gordon also will be the “Lest We Forget” speaker on the last Saturday of February for the Gallia County Black History Month Program at Paint Creek Baptist Church.
Gordon further noted that Martin Luther King Jr. will also be one of the featured scholar presentations during the Ohio Humanities Council Chautauqua to be held this year from July 17-21 in Gallipolis.
“My history with social service and public service within the region has conditioned my awareness for preserving the past accomplishments and striving to overcome the remaining challenges,” Gordon said. “We are all called to serve.”
Gordon is believed to be the first commission member from Gallia County. He said Gallia County has a significant history of recognizing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through its annual community-wide program sponsored each year by the Southeastern Ohio Branch of the NAACP.
Gordon said it was with respect that he asked Gallia County Commissioner Harold Montgomery to execute his oath last month as Montgomery was on the county commission when Gordon previously served as executive director of the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs TASC program. He will be sworn in later this month on the state level at the February Ohio Commission meeting.
Locally, Gordon has also held positions with Woodland Centers Inc. and the city of Gallipolis as city manager. He is currently a project manager with the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University.
He has been privileged to represent the communities of Appalachian Ohio on various civic and professional boards/committees, most recently the Ohio Humanities board of directors, where he currently serves as finance chair. Gordon’s maternal family’s “Journey Story” will be featured in an upcoming issue of the Ohio Humanities Pathways magazine.
In the past, Gordon also served as president of the annual Emancipation Day Celebration Inc. He also co-founded the Emancipation Proclamation Scholarship Fund that continues to enhance educational attainment by area youth of African American heritage.