The Exchange Club of Kiawah-Seabrook Commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The January 15 , 2020 Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club meeting was a really moving and special evening, with John Reynolds and Bill Jenkins discussing Dr. King and the civil rights movement.

Dr. King was the “Leader of the 20th Century” and changed all our lives regardless of our individual circumstances, according to Reverend John Reynolds, a Seabrook Island resident and lifetime advocate for civil rights. Reverend Reynolds and Mr. Bill Jenkins spoke to Club Members on the 91st anniversary of Dr. King’s birth, at the Exchange Club meeting on January 15.

Mr. Jenkins is the son of Esau Jenkins, and he spoke of his father, a civil rights legend who created the Progressive Club, a community center on John’s Island. The Club supported the island’s African American community with health care, an education center, voting information and groceries at a time when segregation and Jim Crow were the status quo on the island.  The Progressive Club was a center of education and resistance to racism, and Dr. King, Stokely Carmichael and Rosa Parks all visited the Club. Mr. Jenkins continues the traditions of his father as Chairman of the Progressive club, and he has dedicated his life to the struggle for racial equality. In addition to his work in civil rights, Mr. Jenkins received a bronze star for meritorious service while on active duty in the Air Force.

Reverend Reynolds told Exchange Club members that we were at a “special moment in history”, and we have an opportunity to learn from the ‘teaching and words’ of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. “The soul of our country is at a crossroads” was Reverend Reynold’s message to the Club.  He encouraged members to get out of their comfort zone and remember the sacrifices made by Dr. King and others in the civil rights movement. “It is now up to you and me to make a difference in this world.”

Rev. Reynolds was actively involved in the Civil Rights movement, working with Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and he’s the author of The Fight for Freedom, A Memoir of My Years in the Civil Rights Movement, published in 2012.  He is president of Scope50, whose primary purpose is to promote and encourage voter registration nationally, and to assist with “get out the vote” activities throughout the country.  A fund raiser for the organization, ‘The Sounds of Motown” will be held at the Seabrook Island Club Friday, February 21 at 6:00 pm.  Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at

-Submitted by Thad Peterson

(Image credit: Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club)