CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — On Feb. 20, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will celebrate its month-long observance of Black History Month with a ceremony featuring civil rights activist Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles. The event will begin at 10 a.m. at BlueCross’ Miller building at 7th and Market Streets.

The pastor of Monumental Baptist Church in Memphis, Kyles worked closely with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to plan rallies supporting the sanitation workers strike in Memphis to address inhumane working conditions and low wages. Kyles is the only living person who was with King during the last hour of his life. On the night of his death, King was preparing to go to Kyles’ home for dinner when he was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel.

“Rev. Kyles offers unique insight into the last days of Dr. King’s life and his immeasurable contributions to the civil rights movement,” said Ron Harris, manager of corporate diversity for BlueCross. “BlueCross and the Chattanooga community are fortunate to have him join us to commemorate Black History Month.”

Kyles will serve as the keynote speaker for BlueCross’ window dedication. For the ninth year, BlueCross is showcasing window displays during February commemorating the contributions and achievements of African-Americans. Following this year’s theme “The Civil Rights Movement: Honoring the Past, Forging the Future,” the windows are presented by local community organizations and schools.

In addition to Kyles’ address, the window dedication ceremony will include music performed by BlueCross employees and a welcome from Ron Harr, senior vice president of people services and public affairs for BlueCross.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at