Lowndes County Civil Rights Celebration planned April 20-22

Published 1:01 am Friday, March 23, 2018

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Special to the Signal

The Lowndes County Friends of the Civil Rights Movement (LCFCRM) will host the 2018 Civil Rights Weekend Celebration, Friday, April 20 – Sunday, April 22. All events are free and open to the public.

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The weekend kicks off with a Mass Meeting on Friday, April 20, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. at the Historic Mt. Gillard Missionary Baptist Church, 8376 US Highway 80, West, Tyler, AL 36785.

The event includes Dr. Hasan K. Jeffries, Author of “Bloody Lowndes” will be the guest speaker and Betty Fikes, former freedom singer.

On Saturday morning, April 21, the community is invited to be a part of the “The On-Going Struggle”, a roundtable panel discussion with Civil Rights veterans. This event will be held from 9 -11 a.m. at the Jackson-Steele Community Center, 590 Freedom Road/Lowndes County Road 23 in White Hall.

The attire will be business casual. A continental breakfast will be served. Scheduled to discuss their historic role in the movement are:

  • The Rev. Wendall Paris (former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee “SNCC” worker and indicted by Jeff Sessions for voter fraud. ?
  • Mukasa Ricks (former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee “SNCC” worker and originator of the slogan “Black Power.” ?
  • Dorothy Dewberry, former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee “SNCC” worker. ?
  • Cornelius “C.J.” Jones, former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee “SNCC” worker. ?
  • Martha Noonan, former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee “SNCC” worker and editor of “Hands on the Freedom Plow.” ?
  • Connie Curry (former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee “SNCC” worker and economic developer for American Friends Service.

There will also be a book signings by Josephine McCall, author of “The Penalty for Success – My Father was Lynched in Lowndes County, Alabama;” Martha Noonan and Joan Mants, “Hands on the Freedom Plow;” and Dr. Hasan K. Jeffries, “Bloody Lowndes.”

There will be artisans including the Piecemakers Quilting Club from Beulah Baptist Church in Hope Hull and Andrew McCall, Vines & Branches, a voter registration drive with continental breakfast provided and tour of selective Civil Rights Historic Sites from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The Living Legends Reception honoring “Unsung Heroes of the Movement”, will be held at the Jackson Steele Community Center at 5 p.m., Saturday, April 21.  The 2018 honorees are: the Rev. Wendall Paris, Mukasa Ricks, Dorothy Dewberry, Martha Noonan, Cornelius “C.J.” Jones, Mattie R. King, Josephine Wagner, Matthew Jackson Jr., Connie Curry, Annie P. Avery, Gloria House, Frank Taylor, Elbert Means, Dean Phillips and Ed Gaffner. ?

Family and friends are invited to the Civil Rights Weekend Celebration Reunion Picnic, Sunday, April 22, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the Holy Ground Battlefield Park, 300 Battlefield Road, Lowndesboro, AL 36752 at the Beach Area Pavilion. This is a family and child friendly event. No alcohol or guns will be allowed.

For more information, please call Joann Mants at 334-875-4830 or 334-507-3156 (cell/text).

Arthur L. Nelson Sr. is chairman, Katanga Mants is co-chair and Ethelyn Williams is secretary.