Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
Local residents will be able to pay homage to a man of history and vision by walking through the streets of Orange this Monday.
The annual march in honor of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. returns Monday after a one year hiatus. It will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and will start at Turret Road and Second Street in Orange.
The procession will travel from its starting point to the Orange County Courthouse where a short program will be held featuring guest speakers. Following the ceremony at the courthouse, the participants and the public are invited to return to Mount Olive Baptist Church for another program beginning at approximately 1:30 p.m., in the Life Center.
“We’ve been waiting to receive our permit and it finally came through this week,” said Jackie Mayfield of the Orange chapter of the NAACP. “We’re looking forward to a good turnout and good weather.”
Mayfield said he is looking forward to Monday’s event and hopes the public will embrace this event by attending the programs and participating in the march to the Orange County Courthouse.
“Dr. King’s march was a media tool to gain attention to the cause,” Mayfield explained. “He used the church as his gathering place before the march and returned their following it, and that’s what we will do after the ceremony at the courthouse.”
The program at Mount Olive Baptist Church, located at 106 W. Park St. in Orange, inside the Life Center and will feature several speakers, music and a tribute to Dr. King.
“Our focus will be on the youth to teach them about the man and the movement,” Mayfield added.
The Orange chapter of the NAACP was forced to cancel its annual MLK March in 2012 because the organization was not able to obtain the necessary paperwork from the NAACP National office in time to meet with the mandatory requirement from the City of Orange to provide liability insurance, something all organizations and groups must do. The event was not held in 2010 as organizers opted to hold a larger community event at a local church on Sunday, the day before the holiday. However, this met with mixed results.
Monday’s march is an important event for not only the black community, but for all of Orange and for all people, according to Mayfield.
“All people need to know (Dr. King) is an American hero, not just a black hero,” Mayfield explained. “He was much more than a dreamer. He had world significance, and we want to pay tribute to him and his ideology.
“There is always going to be injustice,” he added. “But Dr. King symbolized there is a recourse of action without having to take up guns or resorting to violence.”