Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich to Honor Five Community Leaders at 24th Annual Juneteenth Celebration


Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich to Honor Five Community Leaders at 24th Annual Juneteenth Celebration

Per Montgomery County:

Montgomery County’s 24th Juneteenth Celebration themed “Freedom at the Rock… Acknowledge, Educate, Celebrate,” will be held at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown this Saturday, June 19 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

During the event Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich will host the African American Living Legend Awards at 5 p.m. to honor distinguished individuals who are living legends in Montgomery County and have helped shape the cultural heritage of the African American community. The 2021 Annual African American Living Legend Award will be presented to five individuals who have dedicated their lives to service, advocacy and selfless acts of kindness to their community.

Award recipients include:

Dr. Elwood Rafael Gray – Pastor, instructor, author and consultant, Dr. Elwood Rafael Gray is the founder and president of the National Coalition of Prison Ministries established in 1985. Dr. Gray is also the pastor of Peace in the Valley Baptist Church, member of the alumni at Howard University School of Divinity where he is an instructor in the Continuing Education Department and editor of “The Messenger” a newsletter published by the National Coalition of Prison Ministries. Each year Dr. Gray conducts study tours and seminars at jails; detention facilities and prisons across America, providing fresh insight. An active member of the community, Dr. Gray has teamed up with the African American Health Program and others to make significant differences in the lives of those impacted by the present-day Pandemic.

Reverend Dr. Sterling King Jr. – A community activist, faith leader and global citizen, Reverend Dr. Sterling King Jr. has made significant impacts in the community. Reverend King attended the Howard University School of Divinity and after 34 years of service retired from Howard in 2010 as a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Business and Chairman of the Department of Management. For 28 years Reverend King served as pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church in Bethesda, the last remnant of the once vibrant River Road African American community. Reverend King contributed to the community serving on various different boards and committees throughout the county, including serving as past president of the Black Ministers’ Conference of Montgomery County where he also served on the Education Committee.

Willie Pearl Mackey King – A major contributor to our nation’s history, Willie Pearl Mackey King worked for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference under the leadership of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 1962-1966 as a member of his executive staff. While in Birmingham with Dr. King during the Direct Action Protest Movement, Mackey King transcribed and typed the famous Birmingham Jail Letter. In more recent years Mackey King worked as a contractor for the U.S. Office of Compliance for Capitol Hill, retiring in 2004, and retired from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1997 after serving 32 years. Additionally, she is a member of the Montgomery Hills Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Member of the Board of Deacons, and teacher with the AGAPE Sunday School Class and has been heavily involved in the community, participating in numerous different speaking engagements.

John H. Macklin – John H. Macklin founded JHM Research & Development, Inc. in 1981. He served as President and CEO for more than 30 years before the business was acquired. JHM provided information technology services to federal, state and local governments, private industry, non-profit agencies and public organizations. Macklin continues giving back to his community and has sat on a variety of different boards including the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County, Board of Directors of Leadership Montgomery, Board of Trustees of the People’s Community Church and the People’s Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, he works closely with Aunt Hattie’s Place, which improves the quality of life for foster children. Macklin believes in giving back to the community and has made significant financial contributions to the Universities at Shady Grove, home of the John & Effie Macklin Center for Academic Success, as well as to the Music Center at Strathmore.

Dr. Hercules Pinkney – An experienced administrator with a demonstrated history of working in higher education institutions, Dr. Hercules Pinkney is an accomplished Board Chair and member of Board of Directors of regional health care system, Holy Cross Health. Dr. Pinkney has a strong sense of business development and is professionally skilled when it comes to nonprofit organizations, government, instructional design, fundraising and management. Dr. Pinkney previously served as Chief Executive Officer of Montgomery College and in 2015 the college renamed the business park on the Germantown Campus the Hercules Pinkney Life Sciences Park in his honor. Dr. Pinkney also serves as a Volunteer and Coordinator of Local Church Volunteers at the “Let’s Pray” weekly program series on Hope TV.

For more information regarding the event contact James Stowe at the Office of Human Rights at 240-888-5502.

Please see the list of previous African American Living Legend Award recipients below:


Dr. Winston A. Anderson

Irene Coleman

Warren Crutchfield

Arva M. Jackson

Arthur L. Williams

The Reverend Dr. Ruby Reese Moone


Sol Graham

Arthur Holmes, Jr.

Harvey Ziegler

Samuel C. Hamilton, Esq.


Christine Clarke

Odessa M. Shannon

Wilma K. Holmes

Ruby A. Rubens


Delores Lincoln-Willis


Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston

Irma Ramsey Cuellar

Lorraine Elizabeth Mosby


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