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34th annual event in Glennville celebrates life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Float trophy winner, entry by First African Baptist Church.
Float trophy winner, entry by First African Baptist Church.

A 10 a.m. parade and 11 a.m. celebration ceremony were part of the observances in Glennville on Saturday, January 13, 2024, to remember the life and legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The events were organized and sponsored by the Committee for Social Change. Despite the breezy temperatures in the low 40s, the parade route from the corner of Hwy. 301 S. and Banks Street to the corner of Hwy. 301 N. and Hencart Road saw hundreds gathered to watch the 60 entries, led by Tattnall County Sheriff Kyle Sapp.  The Rev. Dr. Ricky Arthur, Sr., served as Grand Marshal of the parade and guest speaker at the ceremony held at First African Missionary Baptist (MB) Church in Glennville.

The theme of this year’s event was “Hope for Peace and Unity,” and the colorful float of First African MB Church with its unity theme was presented the overall trophy by Randall King, President of the Committee for Social Change.

First place among other entries included the entry by Nuggets of Faith Mentoring Outreach Project, Inc., of Mt. Zion Outreach Ministries, with several children riding in the truck holding brightly colored posters; second place was presented to Star of Glennville #162, with its decorated car; and third place went to King Brothers Funeral Home, with the theme of the event on its vehicle along with a picture and quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The three judges: Cynthia Arthur, Kemara Jones, and Nicole Jones were thanked for their services in judging.

Dozens of other vehicles, vans, and ATVs emphasized the theme with their displays.  Among the entries were members of the military band from Ft. Stewart, the Tattnall County High School (TCHS) Sound of Pride Marching Band, and a Tattnall School System entry with several dozen teachers/administrators distributing books to children along the parade route from small blue wagons they pulled in the parade. Tattnall County Commissioners and the City of Glennville were also represented in the parade along with several businesses and political hopefuls.

The ceremony following the parade was held at First African Baptist Church and emceed by the Rev. Derrick Ryals, pastor of the church. An invocation was given by Pastor Calvin Collier of Mt. Zion Outreach Ministries, Inc. The scripture from Matthew 5: 3-11 was read by the Rev. William Blake, Sr., of Beulah No. 1 Missionary Baptist Church.

On behalf of the Committee for Social Change, the sponsoring organization for the 34th annual Parade and Celebration, Dr. Mary L. King of Center of Life-Church of God, Inc., gave a warm welcome despite the chilly temperatures outside. This was followed by the congregation singing the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” along with the combined choir. Sister Tawanna Williams of First African MB Church shared the history of the Committee for Social Change.

After an offering was received, Jo Ann Arthur Anderson introduced the speaker, the Rev. Dr. Ricky Arthur, who is her brother. Dr. Arthur is pastor of Beulah No. 1 MB Church in Glennville and Durden Grove MB Church in Twin City, Georgia. This was preceded by a Hymn of Preparation led by Kenny Murphy.

Rev. Dr. Ricky Arthur, Parade Grand Marshal and keynote speaker at MLK Jr. Saturday celebration.
Rev. Dr. Ricky Arthur, Parade Grand Marshal and keynote speaker at MLK Jr. Saturday celebration.

Dr. Arthur’s comments began by quoting Romans 15:13 and emphasizing his theme of “A Manifestation of Hope, Peace, and Love” went along with the side note of “I have a dream.” He said that with all the turmoil and violence in the world today, we must remain a people of hope, which he referred to as “confident expectancy.”

“Since we serve a God of peace and love, this hope can be a part of our lives because God can, and He will do it.  We must be filled with joy and peace and believe this can happen,” he said, advising to stay away from naysayers.

He reiterated to abound in hope and a belief in the power of the Holy Ghost. Arthur referred to Dr. King’s quote that one day the dream will come to fruition of all men created equal in all walks of life and government.

“I continue to believe that God can and will do it, manifesting the dream of hope, peace, and love.  We must encourage each other and edify one another that all men are created equal,” he said.

“I have a dream of hope, peace, and love, and I am here to please God. God can and will do, so encourage one another, and know that we have the power,” he said, urging everyone to register to vote and to vote.

In closing, Dr. Arthur said, “You must believe in Jesus. If you don’t believe in Jesus, you can’t be healed.  All of us here today are a chosen generation.”

Bill Kicklighter, Tattnall County Commissioner of the 5th District, gave closing remarks, “With God, nothing is impossible, and I can feel the power of the unity in this church today.”

Following his remarks, Minister Micah King of Abundant Life Church of Glennville presented a plaque in appreciation to Dr. Arthur for serving as parade marshal and keynote speaker at the celebration.

Food vendors were on the grounds of First African MB Church, selling an array of food items, such as oyster stew, seafood salad, shish kabobs, fried fish, fries, BBQ, funnel cakes, and other treats and soft drink beverages.