Foot soldiers remembered at Flame Awards

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

The Bridge Crossing Jubilee is chock full of fun events, but it&8217;s the root of the civil rights moment that draws participants.

It&8217;s the spirit of the movement&8217;s foot soldiers that they take home with them.

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Foot soldiers of the movement that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were honored at the Freedom Flame Awards Ceremony on Saturday night at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center.

Attorney Chokwe Lumumba, a Montgomery native, was among those honored, receiving the Guardian of the Flame award. He is the national chair and co-founder of the New Afrikan People&8217;s Organization.

Lumumba made mention of this year&8217;s Jubilee theme; &8220;One vote, one mic, one movement.&8221; He said the foot soldiers who protested and sacrificed for justice were not dying for the right to vote, but for liberation.

Chancee Lundy, of Selma, received the Spirit of the Flame Award. A product of 21st Century Youth Leadership, Lundy charged the crowd to plant seeds in the youth.

Tributes were made to the late Johnnie Mae Carr, the late Rev. James Orange and all fallen foot soldiers. Darwin Hobbs, gospel recording artist, moved the crowd as he sang &8220;I&8217;m available to you.&8221; TV Judge Mablean Ephriam was visibly moved by the song as she bowed her head, waved her hands and sang along.

The Jubilee festival got underway Saturday afternoon, following the Foot Soldiers Breakfast, Jubilee Parade and Drum Line Battle of the Bands.

Gospel artist Dottie Peoples warmed up the crowd with &8220;On Time God,&8221; and &8220;Testify,&8221; before the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Push Coalition Choir took to the stage. The choir also performed at the Freedom Flame Awards, as did Q. Parker, formerly of R&B group 112.

The celebration will continue on Sunday, with events that include a pre-march rally at 1:30 p.m. at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church and the 2:30 p.m. Bridge Crossing Re-enactment.