MLK Day parade, program planned for Monday in Jasper

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 1/12/18

The annual Jasper observances of the Martin Luther King Day holiday will be held Monday, starting with the King Day March for Non-violence at noon.

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MLK Day parade, program planned for Monday in Jasper


The annual Jasper observances of the Martin Luther King Day holiday will be held Monday, starting with the King Day March for Non-violence at noon.

The parade will start out from A.P. Howell Coke Oven Park, which will be followed by the annual holiday program at the Percy L. Goode (Frisco Gym) Community Center.

Organizer Shirley Mitchell said Thursday the parade, which usually runs 45 minutes, will go past Posey’s and onto 19th Street. At the Walker County Courthouse square, a prayer will be held. The parade will turn at Hospital Discount Pharmacy and proceed to the community center.

All members of the clergy will be serving as the grand marshall for the parade, and will also serve as platform guests at the hour-long program that follows. Two Foot Soldier Awards will be presented for excellence in community activism, Mitchell said.

The pastors are also being encouraged to invite their officers and church members to attend the activities. All churches are asked to drive their church vans in the march.

A news release announcing the event said the pastors are being encouraged to wear a Trayvon Martin T-shirt or a red shirt.

Anyone wanting to purchase a Trayvon Martin T-shirt is asked to call 205-221-3296.

Martin was a 12-year-old African-American youth who was fatally shot in 2012 by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and that Florida’s stand your ground law prohibited officials from arresting or changing him. After media coverage and national protests in the wake of the shooting, Zimmerman was charged but a jury acquitted him of second-degree murder and manslaughter in 2013. Zimmerman has had numerous other run-ins with the law since then.

“Everyone is asked to join in the King Day March for Non-violence with your King Day sign, picture or poster by walking, driving your car, truck, etc., in the March for Non-Violence,” the release for the local event said.

Mitchell said, “We still focus on non-violence and people coming together in to make this a better world. That is what Dr. King work for, peaceful solutions.” 

King, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was assassinated in 1968 and was considered the foremost civil rights leader of the 1950s and 1960s, would have turned 89 on Jan. 15. He played major roles in organizing a number of civil rights protests, including the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the 1963 protests in Birmingham (resulting in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”) and the 1963 March on Washington (where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech) and the Selma march in 1965. The federal holiday marking his birthday was started in 1986.

Anyone wanting to participate or assist in the event in any way is asked to call Shirley A. Mitchell at 205-221-3296, Marchette Anderson at 205-717-9459, and Dinah Parker at 205-924-6062.