King’s words an inspiration to youth

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2003

FERRIDAY &045; Parades and marches were the order of the day throughout the Miss-Lou Monday as residents celebrated the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

The events were part of a day that also included the annual Natchez Association for the Preservation of African-American Culture’s &uot;I Have a Dream&uot; Luncheon.

In Ferriday Monday morning, more than 50 people participated in an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march.

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As they walked along Doty Road from the Black Bayou bridge to Rose Hill Baptist Church, they sang songs such as &uot;We Shall Overcome.&uot;

The church’s children and youth held aloft signs that carrying such messages as &uot;peace,&uot; &uot;love&uot; and &uot;he believed in brotherhood.&uot;

Local Americorps volunteers walked near the front of the parade, with one carrying a placard with a King quote: &uot;We all can be great because anyone can serve.&uot;

&uot;He believed in getting things done,&uot; said volunteer Glenda Boxley of Ferriday.

It is important to give encouragement to those who are still serving their community by attending events they organized, including Monday’s march, said participant Theodore Walker of Ferriday.

&uot;I came out to support what they have going on here,&uot; said Walker, of Mount Zion Baptist Church near Ferriday.

Following the walk, marchers gathered at Rose Hill Baptist Church for a program that included music, prayer, dancing and speeches, including a keynote speech by Clarence Hymon.

People lined Franklin Street to watch 70-plus floats, cars and marching groups from churches, businesses and other organizations as part of Natchez’s parade, themed &uot;Remember, Celebrate, Act &045; A Day On, Not a Day Off.&uot;

Bands from Robert Lewis Middle School, Natchez High and Amite County High danced and drummed their way throughout downtown during that afternoon’s parade.

Police and fire vehicles, their sirens blaring, and carloads of public officials led the front of the parade &045; including Paul Johnson, Natchez’s first black fire chief and the event’s grand marshal.

No fewer than three horse riding groups brought up the rear of the parade, which was attended by people of all ages.

&uot;We come every year,&uot; said Larry Scott of Ferriday.

Scott’s 7-year-old grandson, J.J., liked the horses most of all, and both he and sister, Ghann, 8, filled their plastic bags with candy thrown liberally from floats.

But Ghann Scott said the real reason she attended &uot;is Martin Luther King.&uot;