Economic Opportunity Authority for Savannah Chatham County will hold its 40th observance of Dr. Martin L. King Jr.’s birthday on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 noon at the Jewish Educational Alliance, 5111 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA.
Honorees for 2012 will be retired physician Dr. Wesley J. Ball and Judge Charles Mikell. Dr. Wesley J. Ball epitomizes the concept of the good physician, devoted to the alleviation of human suffering and committed to the healing arts and sciences. He earned the baccalaureate degree from Morehouse College and the M.S. degree from Atlanta University. He studied medicine at Meharry Medical College, from which he received the M.D. degree. His rotating internship at Trumhull Memorial Hospital in Warren, Ohio, was followed by a general surgery residency at the Horner G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
In 1964, Dr. Ball came to Savannah, where he has practiced surgery for thirty-three years. He has been on the active medical staffs of Candler, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and Memorial Medical Center.
In 1992, he was awarded the Association’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Service.
Dr. Ball is currently chairman of the board of directors of the EOA.
Judge Charles Mikell is a native Savannahian. He is an honors graduate of the University of Georgia Law School, where he was a senior editor of the law review and a member of the order of the coif. After law school, he was a trial lawyer in Chatham County before being appointed a state court judge by Governor Joe Frank Harris in 1985. He
See Celebration, pg. 4 became Chief Judge of Chatham County State Court, and served as President of the Council of State Court Judges from 1989 to 1990. He was elected a Superior Court Judge in 1992.
In our community, Judge Mikell served as Chairman of the King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation, a museum of African-American history and culture, from 1986- 1994. Prior to that, in 1982, he had been recruited by Mr. W. W. Law to do the pro bono work to incorporate the Foundation. He was a member of the Board from 1982 to 1998. The program is open to the public. Prior to 1972 there was no continuous local community activity in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With the exception of Atlanta, Georgia, there were few cities around the United States that paused to honor the slain civil rights leader and his contribution to human rights.
In January, 1972, at 1112 Whitaker Street, the Midtown branch of the local Economic Opportunity Authority began the first celebration among community agencies to keep Dr. Martin Luther King’s Memory alive. Two black and two white ministers, along with EOA staff and guests met for an hour in a layman’s service that gave rise to one of the country’s largest commemorations. On January 13, 1985, the EOA became the first agency to sponsor an ecumenical service. The program was held at the Temple Mickve Israel, 20 East Gordon Street, Savannah, Georgia, Rabbi Saul J. Rubin, Pastor.