Never forget home.
That will be part of the message from Sedalia native Herbert J. Kitchen as he speaks at the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Fund Banquet at 4 p.m. Saturday.
“The theme is ‘strong families make strong communities.’ I am basically going to talk about life growing up here in Sedalia on the north side in the 1970s,” Kitchen said Friday. “I want to talk to the young folk, and to encourage them and to give them hope that there is a world outside Sedalia. But to tell them never forget where you come from.”
Tickets to the event at the Stauffacher Center at State Fair Community College will cost $22 and will be available at the door. The event also will feature the announcement of the 2008 NAACP scholarship and community service awards.
Kitchen, 43, of Hayward, Calif., has worked as marketing coordinator for Peralta Community College District, in Oakland, Calif., since 1992.
He graduated from Smith-Cotton High School in 1983 and received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Lincoln University in 1988. He moved to California in 1988 and earned a master’s degree in marketing from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He worked in the office of the president for the University of California system before he took the marketing job at Peralta.
He is the son of Imogene Kitchen and the late Edgar R. Kitchen Sr., and his family has lived in Sedalia since 1912. When he returns to Sedalia and to the Cooper Street home where his parents have lived since the 1950s, Kitchen said he sees much change, and not all of it good.
He laments the closing of Hubbard School and the demolition of several homes.
“When you see vacant lots, it’s not a good thing,” Kitchen said.
Longtime NAACP officer Ida Shobe had been asking Kitchen to return to Sedalia for the banquet for years, but this was the first time he had no conflict.
“She asked me back in July, so I was able to put it on my calendar, and I am glad to be here,” Kitchen said.
Kitchen and Shobe’s daughter, Rubena Servance, were peers in high school.
“I always knew he was a nice kid. I am so proud of him. They were real good friends,” Shobe said. “I like to bring the kids from here who have made it (to speak in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.) I keep hoping that something they say will touch one person, and they will take it and tell someone else.”
Joining Kitchen on the program will be Jordan, Morgan and Kheyra Halane, the children of Kitchen’s sister, Carla Kitchen Halane. Another of Kitchen’s sisters, Sharon Kitchen, will introduce him.