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Clanton celebrates MLK Jr. Day

Parade and speakers help celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Clanton residents marked the day and lined the streets in observance of the 10th annual Martin Luther King Day parade Monday.

Numerous residents demonstrated their support in remembrance of Martin Luther King’s legacy by attending the parade and the program that followed at the E.M. Henry Skills Center in West End.

“I appreciate you all getting together and celebrating this occasion,” said Mayor Billy Joe Driver as he spoke at the program. “I think the crowd is getting larger every year.”

With almost every seat filled, the program opened with a prayer, a song and a scripture recited by local residents. The speakers of the afternoon included: Driver; Ben Chaney, NAACP Clanton/Chilton County branch president; Kenneth Allison, who was grand marshal of the parade; guest speaker Joel L. Atchison; Evangelist Robert Binion and Clanton City Council member Greg DeJarnett.

“We’ve come a long way, and we have a long way to go, and we’re going to get there by the grace of God,” said Driver.

Atchison, who delivered a crowd-moving speech to the audience, said, “All of our life, we need to say yes to the Lord because it is the Lord who brought us here and not we ourselves.”

At the conclusion of the event, Binion, along with his wife, Lucy, who coordinated the day’s events, gave back to the community by drawing names from a raffle. First prize received $250, second $150 and third $100.

“We just want to put the money back into the community,” said Binion. “It’s all about the community. Even if I am not here, we need to continue the movement to help open the eyes of the people.”