• 81°

Mandela confirmed

SELMA — Winnie Mandela, known to some as the Mother of South Africa, will speak this weekend during the 45th Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

“She is one of the more prominent confirmed people at this time,” said Sam Walker, one of the Jubilee’s organizers with the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute.

The ex-wife of South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela is the scheduled guest speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta S. King Unity Breakfast on Sunday, March 7, at 7:30 a.m. at Wallace Community College, 3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway.

Mandela was invited to speak because, like the people on the bridge who fought for the right to vote, she carried a torch for freedom, but in South Africa in the fight against apartheid, Walker explained.

“When her husband was in prison, she was out there carrying the torch for freedom, many times alone,” Walker said.

Winnie Mandela is one of a handful of internationally known individuals who will attend this year’s Jubilee.

Walker said he didn’t know exactly how many people planned to come to the commemoration of the beginning of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights workers.

“It’s hard to put a number on it,” he said. “I know it will be a tremendous crowd coming. We expect a great turnout.”

Selma has prepared for this event for months, said Sheryl Smedley, director of the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce. The Bridge Crossing Jubilee is one of the state’s Top 10 events.

“Company’s coming,” said Selma Mayor George Evans. “Jubilee 2010 is an exciting time for the entire community. Our guests will be not only be from this great nation but Internationally.† †Families will be re uniting, and businesses sales opportunities are abound.† From the moment our company arrives our hospitality and food service businesses have made plans to make sure that when our company leaves they will tell their family and friends that Selma is not only a nice place to visit but also a great place to live, work and play.”

Events begin today with a welcome reception from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. today at the Larry D. Striplin Performing Arts Center, 1000 Selma Ave. A mass meeting will follow at 7 p.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 1431 Broad St. and the Miss Jubilee Pageant is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center. A fee of $5 is asked for admission to the pageant.

Friday’s events are as follows:

– Invisible Giants Conference, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Performing Arts Center.

– Children’s Sojourn, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Slavery Civil War Museum, 1410 Water Ave., Shiloh Baptist Church, 1416 Selma Ave. and Pickard Auditorium, 400 Washington St.

– Legal Defense Seminar, 9 a.m. until noon, Wallace Community College, Hank Sanders Technology Center, 3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway, sponsored by the NAACP.

– Voting Rights of Convicted Felons, 12:30 until 2 p.m., Wallace Community College, Hank Sanders Technology Center, 3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway.

– Induction Into Women Room, 4 until 4:30 p.m., National Voting Rights Museum & Institute, 6 U.S. 80 E.

– Induction Into Legal Guardian, 4:30 until 5 p.m., National Voting Rights Museum & Institute, 6 U.S. 80 E.

– Mock Trial “Education on Trial, 5 until 7 p.m., presiding judge to be announced, Dallas County Courthouse, 105 Lauderdale St.

– A Public Conversation, 7:15 until 9 p.m., Wallace Community College, Hank Sanders Technology Center, 3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway, sponsored by the NAACP.

– “Stomp Out to Vote” Step Show, Fee: $5, 7 until 9 p.m. Old National Guard Armory, 2401 W. Dallas Ave.