Monday marks 21st anniversary for MLK Day Walk in Forest

By TIM GETER,

Many steps will be taken on Monday as local citizens celebrate the memory of a leader who stood steadfast in his faith and beliefs.

The year 2018 marks 50 years since the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April, 1968 and Monday marks the 21st year that Legacy Education and Community Empowerment Foundation, Inc. and Slaughter Memorial Foundation have celebrated Dr. King’s life and legacy with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Walk in Forest. 

During the past 21 years, the walk has always started from the Slaughter Library on Jones Street and proceeded through town ending back in front of the library, named in honor of W.L. Slaughter, the first African American Alderman in Forest, and  his wife Olivia.

Constance Slaughter Harvey has been and still is the coordinator for the event. Harvey, one of W.L. and Olivia Slaughter’s six daughters, was the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Mississippi School of Law. While attending Ole Miss in 1968 she participated in a march led by Sanitation workers in Memphis.

 “This is a very special time for Legacy and Slaughter Library because we pause and pay tribute to our legacy which includes W.L. and Olivia Slaughter, Dr. King, Medgar Evers, Rev. Clint Collier, and others who paved the way for us.” Slaughter said. “ It is also our empowerment message to youth to understand where they are going and what challenges await them in becoming first class citizens.”

This traditional event has over 100 people walking to uphold the memory of the leader. Even children follow along on their bicycles while others ride in vehicles some even pulling decorated floats.

Registration will start at 7:30 a.m. and the Walk will begin at 8:00 a.m. The walk will  start at the Library on Jones Street then move to 4th Ave; 4th Ave to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to Hillsboro Street. The first mile mark will be halfway down Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. The second mile mark will be the intersection of George Street and Hillsboro Street. The Walk will proceed down Hillsboro street on Highway 80 to the Courthouse on Main Street and then to City Hall. The three mile mark will be at the intersection of East 2nd Street and 4th Ave then walking to the Forest Services Center; East 1st street and 7th Ave passing Price Busters then Hwy. 80 and Hwy 21 intersection proceeding to North 8th and East 5th; east 5th Ave and 7th Ave; 7th Ave and back to Jones Street. The 4 mile mark will be at W.L. and O.K. Slaughter Memorial Library. Remember, the walk will stop at the Courthouse House on 1st Street for a traditional prayer.

Parade Grand Marshalls are Girl Scout Troop 3205 and their Troop Leaders. Local sanitation workers will be honored.  “We look forward to your presence and participation, either as a walker, biker, or rider, at this walk which marks 50 years since Dr. King’s assassination.” Slaughter said.

Harvey also said that the government officials have also played a tremendous role in the walk’s endurance through these 21 years.

 “We are most appreciative to walkers who have walked for 21 years with us, and we especially thank the Forest Police Department and Scott County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in providing traffic safety for our walkers,” she concluded.

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