Parade brings community members, leaders together

Published 6:04 pm Monday, January 21, 2013

Groups riding in the annual Dr. King Parade throw candy to people lining the streets of Clanton on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 21.

Sunshine poured down over participants and those lining the route of the annual Dr. King Parade in Clanton on Monday afternoon.

People of all ages walked or rode in the annual parade commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that began at Clanton City Park and wove its way along Martin Luther King Drive and 14th Street to the E.M. Henry Head Start facility, where parade organizer Robert Binion led a program featuring guest speaker Richard Davis, pastor of Mount Olive Church in Alabaster, and other leaders in the community.

Pastor Richard Davis of Mount Olive Church in Alabaster, also a councilmember in Maplesville, speaks to people gathered at E.M. Henry Head Start after the Dr. King Parade on Monday.

Evangelist Ella Craig helped Binion call on each speaker during the program.

Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver and council members Greg DeJarnett and Sammy Wilson attended on behalf of the city they serve.

“I’m proud to be here with you,” Driver told the crowd filling the auditorium. “We’re here to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He did what he did because he knew it was right.”

Following Driver were comments from Chilton County High School assistant vice-principal D.J. Nix, DeJarnett, Superintendent Dave Hayden, 1st Cmdr. Barbara White of the American Legion 23rd District, Chilton County NAACP President Ernest Abercrombie and 2012 Black History Queen Savannah Swindle.

Before Davis spoke, members of the Mount Olive congregation sang a hymn.

Davis, also a member of the Maplesville Town Council, spoke of King’s constant efforts to promote equality and unity among all people and encouraged Monday’s audience to not limit their similar efforts to the Dr. King Parade once a year.

“If you sit down, you’re going to stay down,” Davis said. “If you stand up, you’re going to stay up. We’ve got to transition from tradition and move up to change.”

Davis asked Clanton resident Doris Ware Henderson to stand as he recognized her as someone who lived through and experienced the Civil Rights Movement first-hand.

Binion closed the program and echoed Davis’ sentiments by saying anyone who wants to participate in the parade—now in its 12th year—can call Binion at any time or simply show up.

“It’s just a phone call away, but don’t wait till the last day,” he said. “We’ve got to do better.”