By Clint Confehr
NASHVILLE, TN — From Columbia to Clarksville and across America, celebrations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday include marches remembering the Civil Rights leader’s insistence on peaceful demonstrations of conscience.
A celebration at Nashville’s NAACP office, 1308 Jefferson St., starts at 7 a.m. Jan. 15 with refreshments, a program — Dwight Lewis is speaking this year — and a march to Tennessee State University at about 9 a.m. for a program in the Gentry Center.
For those who can not get outside for a march, Columbia’s post march program is to be streamed live on the Internet from Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Wayne Street where the Rev. Vincent Johnson of the Community Baptist Church on Dickerson Pike, Nashville, speaks.
The Maury County NAACP Branch’s march starts at the courthouse with a short ceremony at 9 a.m. Hymns are sung as marchers go down Rosa Parks Memorial Road to Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, says Elder G.A. Bullock, pastor of East 8th St., Church of God Sanctified.
Murfreesboro has an annual MLK Jr. march from Central High School to Patterson Community Center. The Murfreesboro Lodge #12, Free & Accepted Masons organizes the march starting at noon. Bridgestone, Steelworkers and Free at Last Bail Bonding sponsor the event.
“We normally have 300-500 people and probably look for that much this year, but cold weather may affect numbers,” says Lodge member Shawn Brown. “We’ve marched in snow and rain, but in 16 years, we may have had that three times.”
The march ends at Patterson Community Center where Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech will be recited by Northfield Elementary School educator Donald Whitmore.
Clarksville Branch NAACP No. 5582 presents its 2018 MLK Religious Service at 5 p.m., Jan. 14, in Christ the Healer Church, 1295 Paradise Hill Road where Calvin Lockett is the pastor.
On Jan. 15, an MLK Educational Program is to be held at Burt Elementary School, 110 Bailey St., Clarksville, from 9-11 a.m. An MLK Commemorative March follows, starting at noon. Branch President Jimmie M. Garland says, “The community is invited.”
In Lebanon there’s a Jan. 13 MLK march with a free brunch. Seniors, special guests and civil rights leaders will be chauffeured during the march from Cedars of Lebanon Baptist Church, 211 Beard Ave., to the historic Lebanon Post Office on the city’s traffic circle. The brunch will be at Pickett Rucker United Methodist Church, 633 Glover St. It’s the sixth annual event sponsored by the Wilson County Black History Committee.