EDINBORO — When Inez Baskin gets asked when she’ll write her book, she replies that it has been and is still being written, but not on paper. The leaves of her book, she said, are the young people she talks to, and the print, her words remembered.

“The lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime and, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time,” the now 90-year-old pioneering African-American journalist remarked to the capacity crowd at Friday’s 11th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Luncheon at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Like the visionary civil rights leader, “all of us have dreams,” said Baskin, who was honored as the event’s keynote speaker. Last summer, she was honored along with Erie County native Willie Mae Goodwine by the establishment of a university journalism scholarship.

“The question is are you dream-makers ... or are you dream-breakers?” she asked. “The civil rights movement was made out of both. I want you to ask you to please look inside yourselves (for the answer) ... not only our survival depends upon your answer, but the survival of a nation depends upon your answer. Please remember.”

Baskin’s news coverage of the 1995-56 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott is widely celebrated for its crucial role in bringing the movement and the names of leaders such as King, Rosa Parks and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy to national attention. She found herself on the movement’s front lines while reporting for the Montgomery Advertiser, Jet magazine and the American Negro Press.

Having been so closely connected to those leaders and all of the men and women “who sacrificed a great deal to change America,” university President Frank G. Pogue said, Baskin “has experienced those contributions firsthand.”

The annual awards event, he said, is a way to honor those in the region “who are (still) championing the call ... who are still marching with Dr. King.”

This year’s honorees are:

n Bobby Harrison (posthumous) — Harrison, who died last September, was the founder and executive director of the John F. Kennedy Center on Erie’s east side for almost 40 years. His efforts to establish and maintain the center’s charitable and educational programs continue to serve the underprivileged and underserved in the area.

n Eron DeLeon Soto — A well-known Erie-area civil rights advocate, Soto is a retired Gannon University professor. A longtime member of Erie’s Martin Luther King Observance Committee, he is also one of the first members of the city’s Human Relations Commission and a founding member of the city’s Hispanic-American Council.

n Ronald Steele — Formerly an 18-year member of the Greater Erie Community Action Committee’s board of directors, Steele became GECAC’s chief executive officer following the 2004 death of former Chief Executive Officer R. Benjamin Wiley. A well-recognized social servant, he also serves as CEO of the Greater Erie Economic Development Corp. and on the boards of numerous other nonprofit community service organizations.

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