MLK events kick off Saturday with prayer breakfast

Published 5:42 pm Saturday, January 15, 2011

A prayer breakfast will be held in honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend.|File Photo

A three-day weekend observing the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has been planned for Atmore residents as the celebrate the holiday.

The Concerned Citizens of Atmore group is coordinating a variety of events from special services to a parade to honor the late Dr. King.

Sandra Gray, program director and activity coordinator for CCA, said plans are already in place for activities scheduled to begin today.

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“We will be hosting a prayer breakfast from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. at Gaines Chapel fellowship hall,” Gray said. “The Rev. Coleman Wallace will be presiding over the event. Other area ministers will be offering prayer and there will be greeting from Mayor Howard Shell.”

Gray said the weekend of events would carry over until Monday when a parade is planned through the city.

“Line up for the parade will begin at 9 a.m. with the parade beginning at 10 a.m. sharp,” Gray said. “All participants must be in line before the parade begins.”

Gray said those wishing to participate in the parade need to register before being allowed to participate.

“We need to have a registration for each entry in the parade,” Gray said. “Each entry must also sign a liability release before being allowed to participate. For those who have already registered, they need to keep in mind the rules set out for the parade.”

Gray said all floats must have side rails installed for safety as well as having walkers on either side of the float monitoring for safety purposes. No loud music will be allowed from any entry and there will be no bicycles, four-wheelers or go-carts will be allowed to participate in the event.

Participants already committed for the parade include the Escambia County High School band, the Northview High School Band, ROTC organizations from both ECHS and Northview, Sounds of Atmore under the direction of G.K. Grissett, New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, New Beginnings, Gaines Chapel, Ladies of Distinction as well as numerous other churches, clubs and organizations, Gray said.

First, second and third place ribbons will be awarded to floats judged best by judges for the event.

Gray said the theme for the parade will follow the national theme with a little something extra for the Atmore area.

“We are following the national them of ‘Living the Dream,’” Gray said. “We have added a local them of ‘Rebuilding America’s Promise: Freedom and Liberty’ and want everyone to join in the event.”

Grand Marshall for the parade will be Atmore City Councilman Cornell Torrence, Gray said.

The parade route will begin at Houston-Avery Park on Martin Luther King Avenue and will continue to Carver Avenue. The route will continue to Ashley Street and turn left on North Main Street. After making its way through town, the parade will continue down South Main Street to Lindberg Avenue and on to Escambia County High School.

“We will be at ECHS by noon when a planned program will begin,” Gray said. “Master of Ceremonies for the program at the school will be The Rev. Coleman Wallace. Keynote speaker will be Zickeyous Byrd, principal at ECHS. We will have music and tributes to Dr. King throughout the program. Rev. Wallace will also present the ‘I Have A Dream’ speech of Dr. King.”

Providing musical selections for the program will be the Escambia County High School band leading up to a special presentation, Gray said.

“We will be making a presentation for the MLK Community Peace Award during the program,” Gray said. “The recipient of the award will be Bishop Willie Williams.”

As the program concludes, Gray said those who attend will have an opportunity to enjoy a free lunch as well.

“We will be handing out sack lunches at the end of the program,” Gray said. “They will be free for everyone.”

As a culmination of events set to honor Dr. King, Gray said a special service day has been planned.

“We will hold the MLK Community Day of Service on Jan 18 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Unity House,” Gray said. “We will be offering a variety of services to the community along with tutoring services and handing out school clothes and shoes.”

For those wishing to participate in any of the planned events surrounding the special holiday, Gaines Chapel is located at 122 Carver Avenue. Houston-Avery Park is located on Martin Luther King Avenue with Escambia County High School at the corner of Lindberg Avenue and Presley Street. Unity House is located at 313 North Main St.

Anyone interested in learning more about the programs planned or to register for the parade, contact members of the Concerned Citizens of Atmore group at 251-545-9567 or 368-2733.