SCLC holds breakfast, march and rally to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday

Pictured at right is march line-up outside the Eutaw Activity Center for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s program activities to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday for the official observance of his birthday. The march was led by Gus Richardson in his wheelchair.
The march went from the Activity Center to the William M. Branch Courthouse where SCLC held a rally to honor the memory and continuing work of Dr. King and the civil rights movement.
Rev. Dr. H. K. Matthews, Presiding Elder of the AME Church and National Board member of SCLC from Brewton, Alabama was the guest speaker at the Courthouse program. The SCLC also presented awards to Martha James and Esmer Walker, as “Greene County Persons of the Year” at the program.

Rev. Charlie Means, Pastor of St. John Baptist Church, Clinton and St. Luke Baptist Church, Boligee, received the Greene County SCLC Rosa Parks Legacy Award at the 2011 Martin Luther King, Jr. annual fellowship breakfast in Eutaw. L to R: Rev. James Carter, vice-president, Greene County SCLC Chapter; Rev. Charlie Means and Spiver Gordon, president, Greene County SCLC Chapter.

Spiver Gordon, President of Greene County SCLC chapter presents plaque to Rev. H. K. Matthews of Brewton, Alabama, guest speaker for the Courthouse program. Gordon is joined by Rev. James Carter, local SCLC official and Diane Walton, mistress of ceremony for the program.

Spiver Gordon presents Greene County SCLC’s “Person of the Year Award” to Martha James of Eutaw. The award recognizes her lifetime of community service “to those who are least among us” . Gordon is joined for the presentation by Rev. James Carter and Diane Walton.


SCLC plans events to celebrate MLK’s Birthday

Ms. Martha James

Dr. H.K. Matthews
The Greene County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) will conduct several special events this weekend to honor the birthday and memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., according to Spiver W. Gordon, SCLC National Treasurer and local Greene County President.
“Our celebration programs will begin on Saturday, January 15, 2011 and run through Monday, January 17, 2011. This year’s program will also feature the selection of Greene County’s Persons of the Year,” said Gordon.
On Saturday, January 11, 2011 at 5:00PM there will be a “Freedom Gospel Singing Program” at the Eutaw Activity Center featuring gospel groups from Greene and surrounding counties.
On Monday, January 17, 2011, the program begins at 8:30 AM with the Countywide Freedom Unity Breakfast at the Eutaw Activity Center. Rev. Charlie Means, Pastor of the St. John’s Baptist Church in Boligee, Alabama will bring an inspirational message at the breakfast.
Following the breakfast, the SCLC chapter will hold its traditional march from the Activity Center uptown to the William M. Branch County Courthouse.
At the Courthouse, at 10:30AM, there will be a Countywide Freedom Rally featuring Rev. Dr. H. K. Matthews of Brewton, Alabama, an SCLC National Board Member as guest speaker. Other speakers will also participate. Matthews has been active with SCLC since the 1960’s and worked with Dr. King in south Alabama and west Florida. He is currently the pastor of Zion Fountain, AME Zion Church in Brewton.
“SCLC will also present awards to the ‘Greene County Persons of the Year’ at the Courthouse program. This year we are giving this award to Martha James of Eutaw and Esmer Walker of Union,” said Gordon.
“The criteria for the selection of our awardees was based on their outstanding community involvement and support for ‘those least among us’,” added Gordon.
Many other events are planned throughout the Black Belt to commemorate Dr. King’s Birthday. The University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College will be holding their 22nd Annual Realizing the Dream Concert on Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 7:30 PM at the Moody Music Building on the UA campus in Tuscaloosa.
The concert will feature the World-premier of Adolphus Hailstork’s musical and choral composition – “ Dream, Child. Hope.” Tickets are $15 and can be secured by calling 205/348-7111 or http://www.realizingthe

Sarah Duncan and Lester Brown honored by National Voting Rights Museum and Institute

Pictured above are Ms. Sarah Duncan, Dr. Barnard Layfayette and Lester Brown being honored by the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute.

Two Greene County voting rights foot-soldiers, Sarah Duncan and Lester “Bop” Brown, were honored at the annual banquet of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma. Also honored at the same event was Dr. Bernard Lafayette of Atlanta, a civil rights movement veteran of SNCC and SCLC, who participated in the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March.
Duncan and Brown received the “Living Legends Award” for their consistent and tireless work on voter registration, education, organization and participation since the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Both have been involved in generating turnout in Greene County elections including encouraging those who are qualified to apply for and utilize the absentee ballot.
Sarah Duncan who has served as a deputy registrar and a Greene County Racing Commissioner said, “I had a vision that I could make a difference in my community and then I set about doing the work necessary to make it happen.”
Brown, who serves on the Greene County Board of Education, in accepting his award said, “It is a great honor but it also was a great and ongoing struggle. It was not easy to use our right to vote and we did not get here without great lawyers like J. L. Chestnut, Hank and Rose Sanders, John H. England and Michael Figures to defend us when we were attacked for voting too much.”
Brown said he was disturbed by the recent lenient plea deal in the case of Trooper Fowler who killed Jimmie Lee Jackson in Marion, Alabama in 1965. Brown said he accompanied Emma Jackson, Jackson’s sister, to the trial and was not satisfied with the six months plea deal. He said the plea deal was never discussed with Jackson’s family. “We would not be here tonight except for the sacrifices of Jimmie Lee Jackson and many others. We must honor their memory,” said Brown.
Mistress of Order for the Ceremony, Malika Sanders Fortier, commented, “Our living legend honorees are warriors on the battlefield, even when they are getting an award.”
Dr. Bernard Lafayette, who is currently teaching civil rights history and nonviolence training at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia also received a major award at the banquet. Lafayette came to Selma with SNCC and SCLC in 1965 and helped with voter registration campaigns and logistics for the march.
Lafayette said, “We turned the Edmund Pettus Bridge into an international monument to democracy and voting rights. We made it a bridge to span the centuries. We made it and the National Voting Rights Museum a lesson and model for young people. We have institutionalized a place to learn how to serve others. I salute the National Voting Rights Museum for all it has done to further our movement.”
Persons interested in more information about the museum and how to support it may go to: or visit at 6 U. S. Highway East, Selma, Alabama 36701; phone: 334/418-0800