Franklin County residents gather to celebrate history Obama has made

Published 12:11 am Sunday, November 16, 2008

Roxie — History was the focus of a celebratory rally in Roxie Saturday.

Franklin County residents gathered on the town square of Roxie to recognize the history that was made with the Nov. 4 election of Barack Obama as the president of the United States.

Organizers also used the event to celebrate the history of the racial barriers that have been torn down in Franklin County.

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Event organizer Felencia Dyer said she wanted to educate the youth of Franklin County about their past and also show them what they can accomplish.

“We wanted to highlight the progress we’ve made since integration, and recognize the figures that were integral in integrating Franklin County,” Dyer said. “We want to educate our youth on what has been done and give them hope for what they can accomplish.”

Dyer said that the Obama’s election shows children that their dreams can become a reality.

“After 9/11, my nephew saw images of the planes crash into the World Trade Centers, and they really disturbed him,” she said.

“He woke up the next day and said ‘I’m going to be president one day and Osama bin Laden isn’t going to blow things up.’

“Now his dreams aren’t too far fetched.”

Dyer estimated that more than 300 people had attended the rally at some point during the day.

Speakers at the rally were prominent community members and leaders.

Dyer said having familiar faces telling their stories helps people better understand the message of hope.

“The speakers were people that they have known from Head Start up through graduation,” she said.

“If they see what they have done they may understand it better than hearing a national story.”

Myra Bonds Williams of Natchez, formerly of Franklin County, spoke at the rally about her experiences at Franklin County High School.

Williams was the first black cheerleader for the school and was a member of the 1973 graduating class that had the first integrated prom.

“I wanted to tell my story so that people can see how far we have come and how much we can still accomplish,” Williams said.

Williams said the recent election was one indication of the progress that has been made, and she wasn’t too surprised when the election results indicated that Obama had won.

“I thought it would happen because Barack had a plan for change that brings all people together,” she said.