36th annual MLK Day march honors legacy of civil rights leader

Credit: Journal News

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in Hamilton

Credit: Journal News

Frigid weather, pandemic did not halt event that went on, but with modifications

Eighteen people made Hamilton’s 36th annual march remembering the accomplishments of assassinated civil rights leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in freezing temperatures Monday morning.

“I think it’s important to remember the work that Dr. King did and to look toward the work that we still have to do in the community for equality and social justice,” said Hamilton native Dawn Anderson Thurmond, 44, who walked alongside her father, Clint James Anderson, and her daughter, Jules Thurmond, 11.

Anderson Thurmond graduated with Hamilton High School’s Class of 1995 and is the director of YWCA’s Dove House, its domestic-violence shelter.

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Two weeks ago, Anderson and her husband took their children to the Lorraine Motel and Museum, the site where King was shot to death April 4, 1968, “so that the children could see it and listen to Dr. King’s story from their perspective.”

As she marched Monday, Thurmond said she’d most like to see increased educational programs for children “and equal access in terms of economy – jobs and housing, and health care for minorities.”

The group was escorted along the route by two Hamilton police vehicles, one in front and the other behind them, and also led by a Dodge Journey with its back hatch open so speakers facing the marchers could play King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The vehicle was driven by Jermaine Summerour of Hamilton.

Summerour, 47, has helped with the march about a decade with some large crowds and some smaller ones because, “those before me fought for rights for the people,” he said. “One of the things I can try to continue to do is do my part, and that’s to come out and participate in that conscious fight.”

“I believe weather shouldn’t stop anybody for those who fought for the freedoms,” he said.

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After the march, which began in the city’s Second Ward and went through downtown, including on High Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Rev. Victor Davis said minorities and others this year “need to be extremely proactive.”

Davis said he believed that in today’s tense political climate, in which Republican-led legislators in a number of states have approved laws that many believe impinge on voting access by minorities, “Dr. King would have, I think, changed his whole approach, not the non-violence, but the aggression to get legislation passed (to turn back such laws with federal legislation).”

“I think he would have worked even more closely with other organizations,” Davis said.

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Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

African-Americans and Latino workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic are facing more health issues from the disease, because many cannot take time off work and often work in close contact with the public. They also are facing tougher economic issues, social issues and decreased voter rights, Davis said.

King “is probably rolling over in his grave now, thinking about (federal) voter rights (legislation) that’s still not passed,” despite efforts by President Biden and a Congress controlled by slim Democrat margins in the House and Senate, Davis said.

When King was a young man, Blacks faced “blatant discrimination, where you could not go vote, the Jim Crow era. We’ve reverted to that, when they start asking now for different IDs to keep you from voting,” Davis added.

“It’s as bad now, probably, as it’s been in the past 50 years,” said Davis, who lives in Hamilton but is pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church in Chillicothe.

“So we have to focus all of our attention on trying to rectify things – old folks, young folks, different ethnicities. This affects everyone across the board.

caption arrowCaption
Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The marchers gathered outside Payne Chapel AME Church across from the police department headquarters. Nobody met inside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and organizers had considered canceling the march this year because of the pandemic.

“I am so glad to be out here with people like Victor Davis and Rev. Andrews, who continue in spite of what’s going on, and the weather, to still host this and making sure that we are remembering Dr. King’s legacy,” Anderson Thurmond said.

As he often does, Police Chief Craig Bucheit walked with the marchers.

caption arrowCaption
Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Rev. Victor Davis led a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Hamilton. A group of nearly twenty people marched from Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church On Front Street to High Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. then back to Payne Church. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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