Events planned for MLK Day
NATCHEZ — The National Association for the Preservation of African-American Culture is giving area youth an opportunity to know the dream Monday.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations begin at 10 a.m. with an $11 luncheon at the Natchez Convention Center, to be followed by the parade at 2:30 p.m.
Juanita Jones, who is one of the luncheon’s organizers, said the luncheon’s main purpose is for the youth, who did not experience the civil rights.
“We try to remind them of Dr. King and the other civil rights leaders and the sacrifices they made so that we can have the kind of life we enjoy today,” Jones said. “This is the 43rd anniversary of his death, but even though he is dead, we are hoping his dream is still alive.”
Plezetta M. West, who started out as a youth participant in the event when it first began in 1993, will be the guest speaker at the luncheon.
West graduated from Natchez High School in 2001, received her bachelor’s at Xavier University in New Orleans and completed her juris doctor law degree at Loyola University School of Law in 2009.
She became a licensed attorney in October 2009, and currently practices in New Orleans.
“Plezetta was an eloquent speaker as a youth, and she will return to Natchez to speak to other young people about living the dream,” said Flora Terrell, another organizer of the NAPAC event.
The parade will line up at 1:30 on Broadway Street and begin at 2:30 p.m. The route runs down Franklin and makes a left onto Martin Luther King Jr. Street, and will disperse at Minor Street.
Organizer Katie Ruth Moore said so far 33 participants have signed up, but added she expected more to line up Monday afternoon.
“We are planning on having floats, cars, marching bands, motorcycles, four wheelers and horses,” Moore said.
Moore said the Natchez High and Robert Lewis Middle School marching bands have signed up for the event.
Sunday at 6 p.m., there will be a $15 banquet where Port Director Anthony Hauer will be featured as the guest speaker.
“We do not want the dream to go away,” Moore said. “We want the dream to stay alive.”
Concordia Parish services for the second annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and observance service at the Doty Road Church of God in Ferriday are set for 11 a.m. Monday.
Doty Road Pastor the Rev. Simeon Green said the event will start with a worship service led by Mount Beulah Baptist Church pastor the Rev. Eugene Williams.
“It is going to be a worship service just like you would have on a Sunday,” Green said. “We are going to center around King, and his life, legacy and dreams.”
Green said the theme for the holiday service is “Honoring the past and present,” and that he hopes the youth of the Miss-Lou can come out and be a part of the event.
“We are hoping that since Monday is a holiday, the youth of the community will attend the event. We really want to focus on them being a part of this service,” he said. “We need to remind them of the past, and the struggles that King and other civil rights leaders had.
“We believe in the future, many more black people will take the advantage of educational opportunities and take a page out of King and his followers’ legacies,” he said. “We want to encourage the young people today to stay in school and learn from their teachers. We want the youth to be involved in the community.”
Green said community involvement is another area in which he hopes Miss-Lou residents will take part in after attending the service.
“We believe that King’s dream meant for all of us to be involved in the community,” he said. “The dream is also about what we can do as Miss-Lou residents to help our area become a better place to live, so that we become each others brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Green said following the service, there will be a community action meeting to discuss crime and drugs in the Miss-Lou.
“We need the community to come out and speak on what we can do as a people to help stop these problems,” he said. “We want everyone to participate in the meeting.”
Green said he wanted to leave one question with area residents before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“It King was living today, and he walked through and visited the Miss-Lou, would he be pleased?” he asked. “And based upon our answers, we should be able to move forward.”
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