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Miss-Lou events commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

NATCHEZ — Remembering those who fought for the liberties and freedoms black people enjoy today is the objective of events Sunday and Monday commemorating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

One of the leaders in the African-American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, King’s efforts will be recognized Monday throughout the Miss-Lou and nation with a variety of events.

The Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture (NAPAC) will host its annual, “I Have A Dream Youth Luncheon” at 10 a.m. Monday at the Natchez Convention Center.

The theme of the luncheon this year is, “Dream with a vision, live with a purpose.”

NAPAC Director Darrell White summed up the importance of the annual event in the words of Carter G. Woodson, a distinguished black author, editor, publisher and historian.

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history,” White said, reciting a famous quote from Woodson. “That’s why it’s important the youth of our community be exposed to the historical facts and the accomplishments of those who are responsible for some of the freedoms they now enjoy.”

Damira McGruder, a student at Morgantown Middle School, will be the guest speaker at the luncheon.

White said young people, such as McGruder, are a shining example of the positive things happening in the community.

“If we present these youngsters with someone doing positive things, we hope they get in line and follow their lead, rather than some of the other stuff they may be exposed to,” White said. “It’s basically saying, ‘Look at me. I’m an example of what could be.’

“It’s important that there is community-wide support of this event and other activities that are designed to help our community and continue its growth.”

Cost to attend the luncheon is $11 per person. All checks should be made payable to NAPAC.

Churches, organizations and schools are invited to attend.

To ensure getting a seat, call Mary White at 601-446-5601, Juanita Jones at 601-446-5752, Flora Terrell at 601-446-6288 or the Bluff City Post at 601-446-5218.

The Natchez branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will host a banquet at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Natchez Convention Center, followed by a parade at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Program participants this year include Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP state conference, and Alice Thomas Tisdale, publisher of The Jackson Advocate.

Awards will be given to outstanding NAACP workers.

The cost to attend the banquet is $20.

Natchez NAACP President the Rev. Clifton Marvel said the events serve as a reminder of the opportunity and blessing to be free from oppression, misuse and abuse.

“It’s a reminder to show the world that we are extremely appreciative to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and braved all of the assaults that the oppressors threw at us when the odds were against us,” Marvel said. “It’s also important to instill in our young people that the freedoms they are enjoying today were not given to us on a silver platter.”

Marvel said a high level of importance should be placed on the meaning behind the celebrations.

“It’s not so much about the parades or the events, but about remembering what all of this means,” Marvel said. “We should be thankful to reach some of the rewards of the hard work and the sacrifices that were done to secure our freedoms.”

Line up for the parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the bluff.

There is no cost to participate in the parade.

The parade will go down Franklin Street before turning onto Martin Luther King Street and ending on Minor Street.

Those wishing to enter the parade should call Jacqueline Marsaw at 601-443-3630.

The Concordia/Catahoula/Tensas branch of NAACP will host a breakfast and program starting at 8 a.m. Monday at the community center on Louisiana 15.

Breakfast begins at 8 a.m. followed by the program at 9 a.m.

The cost to attend breakfast is $5, which includes a meal and a drink.

Former Louisiana Sen. Charles Jones will the guest speaker of the program.

A skit performance, praise and line dancing will follow.

For more information, call Dianne Johnson at 318-719-5454 or 318-719-10060.