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MLK Day events on tap

©The Pike County Journal Reporter/ This information may not be reprinted, broadcast or distributed electronically in any form or fashion without express consent. For reprint permission, e-mail The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade through downtown Zebulon will start at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16. A play and award presentation will be held after the parade at Mt. Hope Baptist Church. The grand marshal will be Nina Davis who was the first black bank teller in Pike County. She retired from United Bank. ’We’d like for all churches, businesses and organizations to take part in the parade and attend the program,’ said organizer Patricia Beckham. ‘It’s imperative we acknowledge this celebration is a day on and not a day off and honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his dedicated service to all.’ The theme for this year’s parade and events is ‘The Difference in Dr. King and Me.’ It will be demonstrated through floats in the parade, the play performed afterward and the awards ceremony also held at Mt. Hope. Rev. Joel Stokes who is the District 7 NAACP Regional Director will be the featured speaker. The parade will start at Fuller Chapel United Methodist Church on Meansville Street, travel up Highway 19 north, go around the square and head to Mt. Hope for the program. There is no fee to take part in the parade, but those interested need to be at Fuller Chapel at 9 a.m. so the parade can be organized and leave promptly at 10 a.m. Two Pike residents will be honored for their civil rights activism, past and present, during the program at Mt. Hope. The Torch Bearing Award recognizes citizens who were part of civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s in Pike,’ Beckham said. ’This year the Torch Bearing Award will go posthumously to Robert Barron. He helped get people here registered to vote and was involved in orchestrating some of several mass marches held in Pike. He was also instrumental in a lawsuit which led to the redistricting of Pike to include the Hilltop community and the first elected black school board member.’ The Passing the Torch Award is awarded each year to a citizen who is currently active in the community. ’That award will go to Regina Bridges,’ Beckham said. ‘She’s the chair of the MLK committee, she helps with the lineup of the parade and is the reorganizer of the May Day event the first Saturday in May and the Block Party. She’s done great things in this community.’ Beckham said more people are needed to work for racial equality locally and be involved with a Pike County chapter of the NAACP. ’We need to have 55 members to have our own branch and we’ll be registering this month,’ she said. ’It is open to everybody, white and black. Membership dues are $30 annually for adults and for youth 19 and under they’re $10.’

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