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Parade draws diverse crowd

POSTED: January 20, 2010 10:41 a.m.
Photo by Denise Etheridge/

The Hispanic Heritage Club's float came in third in the parade.

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People of different ages, races and ethnic backgrounds sat together, marched together and rode together in Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in downtown Hinesville.
The parade, one of the culminating events organized by the Liberty County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Association, drew participants from area churches, schools, businesses and city and county governments.
State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, was this year’s grand marshal. The 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade champion float was First Zion Missionary Baptist Church. The Cosmopolitan Club came in second in the float competition, and the Hispanic Heritage Club came in third.
Forty-seven years ago, before the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his peaceful army of dedicated civil rights activists spurred the passing of the Civil Rights Act, a parade with a racial and ethnic diversity of participants would not have been possible.
Most area residents who attended the parade that followed Hinesville’s main street voiced gratitude for King’s accomplishments, but added there is still work to be done.
Johnny L. Timmons, a Vietnam veteran and pastor of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond Hill, remembers America before desegregation. Timmons watched the parade with his wife, Evelyn.
“We attend to show our respect and appreciation for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who gave his life for the equality, the humanity of everybody,” he said. “We have to give honor to who honor is due. And to keep him in remembrance for all the work he did.”
“This is our first time attending the Martin Luther King Day parade. We just wanted to experience it,” said Annette Worthinggon. Worthinggon and her friend, both spouses of soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart, are originally from Germany.
Hinesville native Vernon Glenn watched the parade with his wife and 5-year old granddaughter. Glenn said he has seen a lot of social change here in Liberty County during the past 40 years.
“I was born and raised right here. We’re here today to show support. With all that Dr. King has done, there is still a long way to go,” he said.
Bradwell Institute ninth-grader Shanice Cruz and other teens enjoyed a day off from school.
“We came out to see our friends,” Cruz said. The young girl waited to see her fellow students march among other ROTC cadets.
Candice Robinson of Hinesville attended the parade to celebrate King’s legacy, and her children’s birthday. Her twins, Jeniyah and Jermaine, celebrated their second birthday Monday.
Other families have been attending the parade since it began.
“This is our tradition,” said Della Harris who watched the parade with her friend, Michelle Jackson. “We usually bring the kids but they’re older now and they watch (the parade) with their friends.”
Larry Davie, the exuberant master of ceremonies for the parade, was pleased with the hundreds of people in attendance. Davie has acted as parade announcer for about five years, but missed last year’s parade due to knee replacement surgery.
“The significance of this day is to remind us where we came from,” he said. “When King gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech there were no civil rights, no freedoms.”
Davie said there is still work to do, in furthering equality through education, business and government.
He suggested that once people do well in business, or other fields, they should then give back to their communities, as some in Hinesville do.
“We have come a long way. But we’re not there yet,” Davie said.
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