TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – Hundreds of people took part in a motorcade through the streets of Tupelo, on the final day of a four day celebration, of the life and legacy of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.
As members of the County Line 4H Club attached the U.S. flag to a long line of cars and trucks for the motorcade, Florine Nails recalled a civil rights march in Okolona.
“It was exciting, really exciting, until we had to go to jail in Okolona, that wasn’t exciting, that was scary, they put the dogs on us, but we survived it,” said Nails.
Nails was in high school when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 and she took part in marches and demonstrations calling for racial equality.
MLK Day was first observed as a Federal holiday in 1986 and the Tupelo Modern Beautician’s Club organized a motorcade, to represent the marches of the civil rights era.
Since then, the motorcade has grown each year as individuals and organizations take time to remember the principles championed by Dr. King.
“I thank God he took a stand for not only black, but also for white that we all could go to school together, because I was in a segregated school until 1970,” said Kathleen Smith, president of the County Line 4H Club.
The motorcade is also an opportunity for organizers to encourage young people to not just view MLK Day as a day off from school, but a day to remember and reflect on the high price paid in the struggle for civil rights.
“I wish that we could have half of Tupelo in this motorcade to show our young people how important it is to make a dream come true, to make an effort to do something other than lay up in the bed and sleep and play games,” Nails said.
“It’s part of history, and changed our world to the way it is now,” said Cardarius Hodges, of the County Line 4H Club.
Cardarius and other young people in the motorcade say they are inspired by Dr. King and the sacrifices of so many in the fight for civil rights.
The Tupelo Police Department provides an escort from the VF Factory Outlet, to Saint Paul United Methodist Church for the MLK Day motorcade.