Source: Portsmouth Herald
On January 16, 2006 the Portsmouth Herald reported, "Standing in what once was the center of the People’s Baptist Church, Valerie Cunningham shared her memories of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and her experiences growing up in Portsmouth during the civil rights movement... The church where King spoke as a young minister and Boston University student... was the location of a birthday tribute to the civil rights leader Sunday night. About 75 people attended the intimate gathering, which featured singing, religious readings, step dancing and African drumming... The event was in concert with World Religion Day, which emphasizes the common tenets of various religions as a way to foster peace. Traditionally, the event is celebrated locally by those of the Baha’i faith, but this year because the two dates coincided, organizers decided to join the two, said Melinda Salazar, who helped coordinate the event... Baha’i organizers, as well as local church leaders and peace activists, wanted the event to emphasize King’s message of tolerance and erasing racial boundaries as a way to achieve world peace, because it is a message they all share."