PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg has been celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday for five decades, longer than most other places in the country, and marked their 50th celebration of the day on Sunday.

Petersburg was the first locality to establish Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as an official holiday, after an ordinance to establish the holiday for city employees on Jan. 15 of each year was introduced to city council during a meeting on Aug. 7, 1973. Some who remembered the meeting credited the idea for the holiday to Roy ‘Omowale’ Hines, who was the youngest council member at the time.

Petersburg made this decision a decade prior to King’s birthday becoming a national holiday, according to the City.

On Sunday, Jan. 15, the 50th anniversary of this decision was celebrated at the Petersburg Public Library.

Major General Barrye L. Price, who in 1997 became the first African American to obtain a doctorate from the Department of History from Texas A&M University, was the guest speaker for the day. There was also a musical performance by Rodney Stith, also known as the “Soul Singer.”

Guests are asked to bring canned goods for event admission, and the first 100 people to arrive received a commemorative gift.