50th Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration & Honors Program

50th Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Commemoration & Honors Program

Sunday, April 8, 2018, 5:00 p.m.
Mt. Pilgrim Primitive Baptist Church
Tishabee Community of Greene County
Rev. Dr. Carlos Thornton Pastor & Host

Join us in commemorating the life and legacy of  Dr. King and those
Local Civil Rights Leaders of Greene County
from Tishabee & Forkland

Keynote Speaker
Senator Hank Sanders, Selma, AL
Special Guest
Former Governor Don Siegelman
Political Candidate Joseph Siegelman

Sponsored by
Alabama Civil Rights
Freedom Museum, Inc.
Greene County ANSC
Greene County Supportive
Elected Officials
Greene County Brotherhood, Inc
Greene County Leaders
Tishabee &  Forkland

Celebration of Hank Sanders’ 1,500th Senate Sketches column held in Selma


Shown above: Dr. Carol P. Zippert and John Zippert Co-Publishers of Greene County Democrat with Senator Hank Sanders displaying the 1st and 1,500th  Senate Sketches

On Saturday March 19, 2016 more than a hundred community leaders from around the state of Alabama convened at the Bridge Crossing Theater in Selma to celebrate the writing and publication of the 1,500th Senate Sketches column written by State Senator Hank Sanders.
Senator Sanders has been writing sketches for fifteen hundred consecutive weeks starting on April 29, 1987. The Greene County Democrat, weekly newspaper published on Wednesdays in Eutaw, Alabama, has printed each Senate Sketches column, in its entirety since the beginning 29 years ago. Each Sketches column has a prologue section which deals with an issue in the Legislature, a community concern, a trip that the Senator took, events in his life and family and other timely and meaningful topics. There is also a “Daily Diary” section, which lists events and people that Senator Sanders has interacted with during the past week. Each column ends with an “Epilogue”, which consists of a short reminder of the lessons learned from the prologue and daily diary sections.
Senate Sketches is now also circulated on the Internet, published in other newspapers, read on the radio and distributed in other ways but the Greene County Democrat remains the only publication that has printed all 1,500 columns in full.
The celebration included a reading by a number of people of their favorite Sketches column, special presentations including songs, plaques, poems and comments, and a response by Senator Sanders himself.
Scott Douglas of the Greater Birmingham Ministries read Sketches # 1437, “An Open Letter to Mr. Charles Barkley”. In this column, Sanders takes the basketball legend to task for statements he made that slavery was not very bad for Black people and its impact is exaggerated.
Alphonzo Morton III, a science teacher at Greene County High School and adult adviser to the Twenty-first Century Youth Leadership Movement, read Sketches # 905 “Men and Boys” which speaks to the differences, responsibilities and obligations of men as contrasted to boys.
Sharon Wheeler and her mother, Carolyn Wheeler commented on Sketches #1323 which was a memorial to Kirk Wheeler their father and husband. Sanders delivered these remarks at Wheeler’s funeral.
Faya Rose Toure (Sanders) did a rap about Senate Sketches, sang some songs, helped some community people to put on a skit as part of the program. Faya Rose was instrumental in planning the celebratory program.
Carol P. Zippert, Co-Publisher of the Greene County Democrat was Mistress of Ceremonies and John Zippert, Co-Publisher of the Democrat said, “we are pleased and proud to be friends of Senator Sanders and to have published every word of every Senate Sketches column for three decades. I especially enjoy the Daily Diary section which lists the many activities that Senator Sanders is involved in each week.”
Dave White, a reporter formerly with the Birmingham News praised Sketches, “for its writing and using the newspaper column format to provide very clear ideas in a very clear writing style. He also indicated the great discipline, consistency and perseverance to write a weekly newspaper column for three decades.
State Senator Vivian Figures of Mobile presented Senator Sanders with a plaque from his Alabama Senate colleagues recognizing the achievement of 1,500 columns. Alabama New South Coalition and other groups presented plaques and acknowledgements to the Senator.
In his remarks at the conclusion of the program Senator Sanders thanked the many people who help him type, proof read and distribute the Senate Sketches column each week. He said he was thankful and impressed at hearing people read the words of their favorite column to him. “It was a great and powerful experience,” he said.
The groups in Selma, including the National Voting Rights Museum, Center for Non-Violence, Truth and Reconciliation and the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, compiled a book of the best-loved Senate Sketches, which they sold for $20.00 at the program. If you are interested in purchasing a book, contact the Center for Non-Violence, 8 Mulberry Road, Selma, AL 36703; phone 334/526-4533. Proceeds will go to support on-going community work in Selma and the Alabama Black Belt.

51st anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday March’ draws thousands to Selma

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“This is not only a celebration and commemoration of the past but a continuation of the movement and a statement of the struggle for racial, social, political and economic justice that still face us,” said Faya Rose Toure on Sunday at the pre-march rally on the steps of Browns Chapel Church in Selma, Alabama.
There were 40 events during the March 3-7 weekend that comprise the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the marches on Bloody Sunday and subsequent marches in 1965 which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.There was a Saturday breakfast to honor footsoldiers of the movement, a parade, a beauty pageant, a Sunday Unity Breakfast, Freedom Flame Banquet, golf tournament, numerous workshops and presentations on history and current struggles. At the Unity Breakfast, Congresswomen Terri Sewell presented a replica of the Footsoldiers Gold Medal, recently awarded by Congress to participants in the 1965 marches, to Hank and Faya Rose Sanders. The Sanders have developed the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and Museum over the past three decades to help people to understand the history of the voting rights struggle in America and continue to work to preserve these basic democratic rights for all people. They said they would place the medal on exhibit in the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma.
Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina was the keynote speaker at the Unity Breakfast. Clyburn said, “If we fail to learn the lessons of history, then they will repeat. We are seeing some similarities now in our Presidential election to the elections in Germany in 1932, when a demagogue was first elected to office and then became a fascist dictator.”
“Things that happened before can happen again. Things do not happen in a linear fashion. They go one way and then swing back another way. The people must be ready to intervene and participate in the process.
“Last year, we were here with a bi-partisan group of 100 Congress people and the President for the Fiftieth Anniversary but the Voting Rights Advancement Act has not had a hearing and not moved one inch since last year. People will show up for the celebration but not the work,” said Clyburn.
He urged the audience especially young people, not to give up. “Most of us have a resume which lists only the things that went right – not the times that things didn’t go as planned.
I ran for Congress, three times and lost. I did not win until the fourth time. Many people said three strikes and you’re out, but those are baseball rules. There are no numerical limits on trying in life,” said Clyburn.
The names of many young Black people killed by police in the past year came up as rallying calls for actions at various times during the weekend. The case of Gregory Gunn who was shot five times, last month, by police in Montgomery was mentioned in the criminal justice workshops. Rev. Kenneth Glascow of The Ordinary People’s Organization (TOPS) introduced the mothers of Christopher Jerome Thomas of Dothan, Alabama and Cameron Massey of Eufala, Alabama. Glascow led a “backwards march” across the bridge, before the larger march, to call attention to the inequities in the justice system and the unresolved pending cases of police violence and misconduct toward Black people.
In a Saturday workshop at the Center for Non-violence, Truth and Reconciliation, the speaker was Bryant Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative. He spoke about his life experience of working to represent and exonerate prisoners on death row in Alabama. He equated the current killing of young Black men with the prior era of lynching in the South between Reconstruction and the end of World War II. He said over 400 Black people were lynched around the South. His organization is in the process of placing historical markers at the places where these lynchings occurred.
On Sunday afternoon about 10,000 marchers, including a large contingent of members from Alabama Masonic Lodges and their auxiliaries participated in the reenactment march from Browns Chapel Church through Selma and across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. A post march rally was held in the Memorial Park on the east side of the bridge.