Princeton YMCA Presents Two Rare Martin Luther King, Jr. Items to Public Library and Seminary

Princeton Public Library Director Leslie Berger and Clayton Marsh at a ceremony Oct. 10,at the Princeton Theological Seminary library.

A student teacher from Princeton Theological Seminary made an interesting discovery while sorting through a case of children’s books at the Henry Pannell Learning Center on Clay Street almost a decade ago. Among the books, the student found a signed first-edition copy of King’s fourth and final book “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” and the Letter from a Birmingham City Jail, in pamphlet form.

This year, YMCA volunteers decided that the time had come for the items to find an appropriate home where they could be cherished and cared for properly. The Princeton Public Library and the Princeton Theological Seminary Library accepted the items on permanent loan, with the book going to the public library and the pamphlet to the seminary.

The book and pamphlet were presented Friday night at a reception hosted by the board of directors for the Princeton Family YMCA. The YMCA also announced the establishment of the Shirley Paris Circle, a major giving circle established in memory of the founder of Princeton Young Achievers, Shirley Paris.

Princeton Young Achievers provides after-school programs for Princeton’s most economically disadvantaged children at three learning centers. Founded in 1993, Princeton Young Achievers offers programs to about 90 children from low- and moderate-income families with a goal of improving their school performance and academic skills. The program, which is now run under the umbrella of the YMCA, provides homework assistance, educational support and other activities for children in kindergarten through fifth grade from all four Princeton elementary schools.

“We know for certain, from the days of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, that after-school programs are effective and can be transformational to children’s lives and futures,” said Barbara Blumenthal, who co-chairs the Shirley Paris Circle with Clayton Marsh.

The goal of the Shirley Paris Circle is to increase individual support for the Princeton Young Achievers program by recruiting 40 families in Princeton to participate with an annual major gift. To join the Circle, members are asked to give $1,000 or more annually for five or more years to sustain the Princeton Young Achievers, which costs approximately $200,000 a year to operate.

For more information about the Shirley Paris Circle or to make a donation to the Princeton Young Achievers program, please contact Denise Soto, Director of Development & Communications at (609) 497-9622 x209.