Community braves cold morning to honor MLK

Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Despite the chilly weather, Bainbridge’s observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a success.

Opening Ceremonies in front of the Decatur County Courthouse began with prayers, music and greetings from many of the community’s biggest leaders. The Bainbridge Bearcat Band’s percussion section provided an exciting beat as the crowd trickled in.

Jeannete Grimsley introduced the ceremony, followed up by a musical solo from Lora Akins. A prayer from Rev. Eldrick T. Jacobs of Jacobs Mortuary blessed the day and thanked God for everything He has given us.

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Liz Tomlin, CEO of the HERO Foundation and organizer for the day’s events, welcomed the crowd gathered on West Street. Bainbridge City Councilwoman Roslyn Palmer and Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin also addressed the crowd.

Rev. James B. Austin and Mamie T. Austin were pinned with roses and made official grand marshals of the MLK Day Parade from downtown to Hutto Middle School.

At HMS, Master of Ceremonies Joe K. Mulholland welcomed the packed gymnasium and began the ceremony by calling the Bainbridge Jr. ROTC to present the colors for the Pledge of Allegiance. The Hutto Middle School Chorus performed a number for the crowd before Rev. Daniel Smith of Mt. Pleasant FBC read from scripture and Rev. Ryan Carnes said a prayer.

Welcomes and greetings were given by HMS Principal Crycynthia Gardner, Decatur County Superintendent Tim Cochran, County Commissioner Pete Stephens and Kenneth Cutts, a director from Congressman Sanford Bishop’s office.

One of the most energetic moments from the ceremony was Rev. Spencer Wilson’s reading from his own poem, “The Struggle”, that told the story of African-Americans overcoming struggles in the past half-century and the areas he and others could improve in to help society, drawing cheers from the crowd.

The James Clark Community Choir uplifted the spirits of all in attendance with gospel melodies that had the crowd stomping, clapping and singing together.

Luther Conyers introduced guest speaker Rev. Dr. Willie Adams, who started his speech off in a mellow tone before gradually building to a loud delivery that had everyone’s attention. Adams spoke of Black History figures and how they provided a backbone to the Civil Rights movement, and tied everything together with faith, family and community.