Local organizers are gearing up for celebrations in memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with events scheduled in McComb and Amite County. Local NAACP chapters and the City of McComb are sponsoring the events.
“The city has been very supportive throughout the years,” said organizer Mamie Kettle of the NAACP.
Kettle said the events mean a lot to the city and its history.
“The Dr. King weekend is based on getting the community to come together, to work as one and the NAACP is hoping to weed out all of the violence,” she said.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, but events start before that.
The McComb MLK planning committee will hold its annual MLK Day parade with the theme “When We Fight, We Win” at 1 p.m. Saturday, with lineup on Gay Street. The parade route goes east down Delaware Avenue to the Bo Diddley Pavilion.
Janice Jefferson, founder of Walkin’ in Da Light, an organization that’s trying to build a shelter for abused women, will serve as grand marshal.
“She is working so hard, we really wanted to recognize her,” Kettle said. “We’ve got to work together to win our battles — whatever they may be.”
There will be musical performances, political speeches and food vendors downtown at the Bo Diddley Pavilion at the conclusion of the parade.
“We hope everyone will come out and support our local businesses,” Kettle said. “It’s our first time to try and do this.”
A civil rights bus tour of McComb led by Pike County District 1 Supervisor Tazwell Bowsky will kick off from the Bo Diddley Pavilion at the conclusion of the parade around 2, Kettle said.
The tour, will include prominent civil rights-era sites throughout the city. Bowsky will lead the discussion of the history of McComb throughout the civil rights period.
“We want to make sure that the young people remember our legacy,” Kettle said. “And any adults or anybody else who’s interested can follow along, too.”
The tour will feature sites including the fire-bombed home of civil rights activist Aylene Quin, the Black History Gallery operated by Hilda Casin in Burglund, City Hall, Society Hill Missionary Baptist Church, which was also targeted in a bombing, and more.
“We’ve got to teach kids about what went on during that time,” Kettle said. “It means a lot.”
The event continues at 6 p.m. Sunday at the MLK Center with a “Night of Kingdom Building” event sponsored by the McComb NAACP and hosted by Pastor Chad Williams of Pleasant Hill M.B. Church.
At 9 a.m. Monday, a prayer breakfast sponsored by the McComb NAACP youth council will be held on the sixth-floor conference room at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in McComb. Keynote speaker Dr. Tyler Nunnery of Jackson, who’s the son of Pike County Tax Collector Gwendolyn Nunnery, will speak.
Pike County festivities conclude 6 p.m. Monday at the MLK Center with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and C.C. Bryant Memorial Program. Jubilee Performing Arts Center director Dr. Terrance Alexander will speak.
In Amite County, the local NAACP chapter will hold a parade at 5 p.m. Monday starting at the post office on Main Street in Gloster and ending at the Penny Pincher Cafe on Railroad Avenue. Magnolia Mayor Anthony Witherspoon will speak. For more information, call Jerry White at (601) 341-1109.