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Unity March set for Saturday

Sara McManamy-Johnson sjohnson@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Jan 15, 2014 at 10:28 PM

The upcoming Commemorative Unity March will honor Wilson County’s civil rights leaders and activists, Lebanon sanitation workers and all Wilson County clergy Saturday.

“We had a very good participation [last year], and hopefully even more will come out and support us this year,” said Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead.

“This is our second year for the march, and this is our fifth year for our brunch and honoring our clergy and sanitation workers,” said Mary Harris of the Roy Bailey African American History Center and Museum.

The Unity March, which is organized by the Roy Bailey African American History Center and Museum, pays homage to the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech advocating racial harmony.

“We will [also] be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the life and legacy of [South African] President Nelson Mandela.”

The Unity March will begin at 10 a.m. at the Cedars of Lebanon Primitive Baptist Church – former headquarters of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Taskforce.

The route for the march will include C.L. Manier Street, McGregor Street, Highway 70, East Main Street at the Square and continue back to Pickett Rucker United Methodist Church.

Craighead said events such as the Unity March help highlight how society has changed since the 1960s.

“More than anything it just shows how far we have come over the years compared to the way things were in the past,” said Craighead. “I just shows how far our society has come in recognizing the importance of everybody.”

Harris said it helps younger generations understand and remember.

“I feel if we don’t keep it in the eyes of our young people, that it will be forgotten and it’s too important to not live on for future generations to know some of the things that have happened to give them the opportunities that are open to them now,” said Harris.

Immediately after the march, attendees can join the celebrants for a brunch at the Pickett Rucker Hope Center at 633 Glover St.

The $10 suggested donation for the brunch will go toward operating costs for the Roy Bailey Museum and the Pickett Chapel restoration project.

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