Martin Luther King’s memory honored

Published 7:56 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Citizens of the Picayune area honored the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. with a march and ceremony Monday morning that was organized by the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee.

Two weeks of planning by the committee lead to a march that began at South Side Elementary School and went down Rosa Street to Jones Street where marchers stopped at Pleasant Valley Church on Weems Street for a ceremony. During the march, numerous community members came out and showed support while others stood on the edge of the street waiting to join the march. Those sitting on their porches were urged to join the march.

“I’m glad to see this march go off as good as it’s happening,” said Charlie John.

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John said the first time there was a march in Picayune in Martin Luther King Jr.’s name just after his assassination, John was arrested, but things have now changed for the better.

The last time the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee had a march in King’s honor was several years ago, said committee member Ella Scott. Now that the hard times brought by Hurricane Katrina are beginning to pass, the committee decided to hold a march as part of this year’s event. The committee plans to make it a yearly event, Scott said.

The worship hall of Pleasant Valley Church was full of people who were there to honor the memory of King.

The ceremony consisted of numerous songs and prayers in honor of King’s message and work. City Council member Donald Parker sang at the event, while council member Leavern Guy and Mayor Greg Mitchell were present for the event.

The ceremony honoring King was in part to remind the young of the freedoms they now take for granted and that they should never forget the sacrifices to secure those freedoms.

“It hurts my heart to think about some of the things that gone on in the past,” Mayor Mitchell said during his speech at the ceremony.

“What he did was not in vain, for his life lives on,” said the Rev. Brian Dees.

“Without the support of the people, it would not have been a program,” said committee member Wanda Williams. “The committee would like to take this time to say a warm and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to each of you that participated here today. Without your participation the program would not have been the success that it had been. A special thanks to all of those who asked to be on the program and said, ‘What can I do’, and also to those who had words of wisdom and gave us direction.”

So far, there are three committee members, but they are looking for new members. Several positions need to be filled such as president, vice president, treasurer and secretary, Scott said. Interested parties can call Scott at 601-798-9184.