The marchers, many of them children, carried portraits of King and poster boards with messages like, “serve humanity in the spirit of love and nonviolence.”
The group stopped and gathered near the Walker County Courthouse Square, singing “Down By the Riverside” and “We Shall Overcome.” The Rev. Spencer Abroms, with an American flag draped over his shoulder, held his Bible up as he yelled about King’s dream and God’s love for people of all races.
The march, which began at A.P Howell Park, ended at the Percy L. Goode Community Center, where members of the Walker County chapter of the NAACP organized a program entitled “Dream with a Vision — Live with a Purpose.”
At the event, local ministers read scripture and led the crowd in hymns like “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Julius Brown, pastor of Clover Hill Church of Christ in Parrish, served as the keynote speaker.
Brown called the turnout for the event tremendous, especially the amount of young people at the program.
In his speech, Brown described growing up during the 1960s in Pittsburgh, Penn. He talked about a news report that interrupted “Bewitched” in April of 1968 to tell viewers King had been assassinated at a motel in Memphis. He talked about the anger so many people felt from the slaying, and how the rage spilled over into riots throughout the country. He remembered how James Brown’s “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)” served as an anthem for a new chapter in the Civil Rights Movement, one that would include the Black Panthers and the Black Nationalist Movement.
Brown also said he remembered watching television as a child and, shortly after an African American character would appear, his parents would receive a phone call with the person on the other line saying, “They got colored people on ABC.”
“Now we own networks,” Brown said.
The opportunity that young people enjoy today, Brown said, is available because of the sacrifices of King and all those involved with the Civil Rights movement.
“Freedom was born not in the bed of convenience,” he told the crowd. “It was birthed through the blood, sweat and tears of many who have come before us.”