WE SHALL OVERCOME: Penny Williams, chairperson for the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast, leads everyone in song at the conclusion of the breakfast, which was hosted by the Selma chapter of The Links, Incorporated. -- Sarah Cook

Residents gather to honor Dr. King

Published 9:04pm Monday, January 21, 2013

Selma Residents old and young, black and white, linked arms Monday morning at the 20th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast and sang “We Shall Overcome,” much like residents did decades ago in honor of King’s vision.

The breakfast, hosted by the Selma Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by recognizing individuals in Selma and Dallas County that work especially hard to “move forward in unity.”

Becky Nichols, director of the Selma-Dallas County Public Library, was given the Distinguished Citizen Award for her dedication to the people of Dallas County through her efforts at the library.

“Becky Nichols is one of the best examples of human love I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard, who served as the keynote speaker. “And we’ve got thousands of Becky Nichols in Selma, Alabama. There’s a whole lot more who want to see the city move forward rather than backwards.”

Nichols, who was raised in Selma and graduated from Parrish High School in 1966, has worked at the library for 36 years and served as the director for 23 years. After receiving the award, presented by Dorothy Brown of The Link, Inc., Nichols said she couldn’t have been more honored.

“I’m still having a wonderful time at the library,” Nichols said. “My mother used to say you have two things; you have a vocation and that’s the job you do, but it is your avocation that is the job you love. It’s been my joy to have a vocation and an avocation for 36 years.”

During the breakfast, Ballard also spoke on how far Selma, Dallas County and the nation have come since King spoke years ago on non-violence and it’s power to influence change.

“I commend what’s going on in Selma, Alabama,” Ballard said. “Mayor George Evans, the city council and the police force have floored our crime rate. The issues that Judge Armstrong has worked on have also greatly lowered our juvenile crime rate. I think Dr. King would be proud.”

Joan Roussell, scholarship chair for the Selma chapter of The Links, also recognized three recent area graduates who have exhibited exceptional academic achievements.

Roussell presented Aaron Roberson of Selma High School and Neshambia Sewell of Prattville High School with a Links scholarship for their hard work. Naadria Pettway, graduate of Keith High School, also received the Josephine Stokes Award for her academic endeavors.

Pinkie Platt, president of the Selma chapter of The Links Inc., said Selma and Dallas County residents have worked hard to move forward much like Dr. King preached. Also, Platt said she hopes with the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, the nation can continue to move forward too.

“Without you, all of this would not be possible,” Platt said, addressing all those in attendance. “And thank you for your commitment and dedication to the Selma chapter of The Links.”

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