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Dorchester fundraiser draws 120 to 9-mile walk
walk 2
A walker celebrates as she and a few others finish the 9.2-mile hike Saturday. They walked from Riceboro’s Briar Bay area to Midway’s Dorchester Academy. - photo by Photo by Alena Parker.
More than 100 walkers braved the heat Saturday morning for the ninth annual Walk to Dorchester, fanning their faces and ignoring beads of perspiration that soaked their T-shirts. With the nine-mile trek behind them, most participants crossed the finish line exhausted but smiling.   
Though Zhane Roberts, 8, got a ride part of the way, she said her iPod helped pass the time while she walked in the crowd of 122 as they tackled the long hike.
“Back then, they didn’t have music, not unless they made their own music,” Maurice Frazier told a group of youngsters.
“I would’ve got bored,” said Mikia Frazier, 12.
But Roberts had the right idea, according to Everlena Brown.
Brown said her mother often had to walk to get around and songs and prayer usually kept them moving, kicking up dust on unpaved roads. 
“First of all, they didn’t have highways to walk ... black folks didn’t have all the privileges that we have now,” she said.
And not everybody took the same set routes. Some people used to cut through woods and pastures.
Midway’s Dorchester Academy provided the only opportunity for African-Americans to get an education in the early 1930s and many walked from the ends of the county to attend classes.
It was seeing Brown that kept rookie walker Regina Anderson stepping.
“I thought if she could make it, so can I,” said Anderson, who also ran part of the way.
Saturday’s walk broke her in and she said she will be back next year.
“I’ve been wanting to do it for years,” said Frank L. Anderson, another first-timer.
But Anderson was no stranger to walking to the school. It was five miles both ways before his family got a pickup truck.
“Oh, everybody was really geared up for it,” Anderson said of the 6 a.m. start at Riceboro’s Briar Bay area. “Everybody was in a good spirit.”
Maurice Oxendine Bacon, a member of the Dorchester restoration board, said next year will be the 10th anniversary of the event and they plan to pull out all the stops.
“The difference is it’s getting better, a lot more people involved,” Bacon said.
Fundraising goes toward Dorchester remodeling.
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