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A dance troop from Miracle Life Ministries of Verona performs during 2019’s Dr. Martin Luther King Day service at Carter Chapel Church of the Living God in Amory. Several events are planned Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Aberdeen and Amory to commemorate the holiday. 

Update: A unity march in downtown Aberdeen previously scheduled for Jan. 15 is postponed due to the threat of inclement weather. 

Amory and Aberdeen will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with events beginning this weekend, leading up to the Jan. 17 national holiday in his honor.

“Our theme somewhat comes from the national theme, and we want to concentrate on, ‘Unity Is Up to All of Us (Driving the Dream Forward),’” said Aberdeen/Monroe County NAACP chapter president the Rev. Dr. James Cook of this year’s festivities. “Dr. Martin Luther King said this, and this is worthy – ‘People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.’”

Lineup for Amory’s Jan. 16 motorcade to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day will begin in front of the West Amory Community Center alongside 111th Street at 2 p.m. It will travel to Frisco Park for a program expected to last approximately 30 minutes.

The program will begin with music by the Smith Chapel choir and The Adams Family. Youth from St. Paul’s Baptist Church and groups from other churches were invited to participate.

Sis. Ruby Holman from McGlown Chapel will be the emcee, and speakers include Missionary Teresa Johnson from St. James United Methodist Church and Pastor O’Neal Howell from Carter’s Chapel.

All attending the event are asked to park around Frisco Park and remain in their vehicles to enjoy the service. Anyone wishing to be on the grounds are asked to wear face covering and observe social distancing.

On Jan. 17, lineup for Aberdeen’s annual motorcade begins at 10:30 a.m. at General Young Park.

“The procession will start at 10:45, and it will culminate at Daniel Baptist Church with a program. Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Stevie McKinney, who is pastor of People’s Community Baptist Church in Tupelo,” Cook said. “There will be every COVID-19 protocol and there won’t be any reason for unnecessary contact because people can remain in their cars and be a part of the service.”

He challenged each church to have at least 10 cars participate in the motorcade, which will travel through several places in town including Highway 25, Commerce Street and Highway 145.

“If you are for those things that are right and just, you can’t afford not to be there. This will not be a beat ‘em up setting because that’s not what Dr. Martin Luther King’s life was about,” Cook said of the program.

He later added the Salute to Service Awards will be included with the program, and this year's recipients are LuEllen Childress and Wilma McMillian. 

As far as upcoming events through the local NAACP chapter, there are plans for a community unity walk the last weekend of February; a community burger bust cook-off and awarding of the General Young, Eugene Sacus and James Carr scholarships in May; the first of a community symposium series called The Talk beginning in June; and youth back to school leadership and parental skills training in August.

“We’ll be challenging people to register to vote throughout the year. We need those people who are NAACP members to renew and those who are not to sign up,” Cook said. “I want people to know we’re going to be doing something, and this is not just lip service.”

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