Jubilee parade happy occasion

Published 12:08 am Sunday, March 8, 2015


Matthew Baldwin portrays Dr. King during the Bridge Crossing Jubilee Parade.

By EMILY REED | The Selma Times-Journal

For Selma native Doris Thomas, attending the Bridge Crossing Jubilee Parade on Saturday was a happy occasion.

“This is wonderful to be out here and see so many people taking part in this event,” Thomas said. “There was a time in my life where this area was a much different scene, and it is so good to see the change.”

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The parade began shortly after 9 a.m. near Selma High School as throngs of people lined the nearby streets.

“I love seeing so many happy faces,” Thomas said. “Everyone looks like they are just having a great time.”

Veronica Armstrong, teacher at McRae Learning Center, rode with four of her students on a float titled, “Beyond the Bridge.”

Each student portrayed a historical character including Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Marie Foster and President Barack Obama.

“We wanted to involve the students in a way where they could learn about different pieces of history,” Foster said. “Each one riding in the float today had the opportunity to portray a historical figure that they learned about.”

Kensley Craig, 5, wore a sign around her neck indicating she was Rosa Parks.

“I had a lot of fun,” Craig said about riding in the parade float. “I learned that Rosa Parks liked to dance, and she liked to take pictures.”

Standing a few inches away from Craig was classmate Matthew Baldwin, 7, who rode throughout the parade with a cardboard podium and a makeshift microphone yelling to the crowd, “My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”

“I get to play Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today,” Baldwin said. “I learned in school that he made a way so that people could vote.”

The parade featured performances from high school bands, dance teams and cheerleaders as well as local officials and various service organizations.

Miss Black Teen USA Ambassador Ciara Thompson from Minnesota and Miss USA Ambassador Cearah Hamilton from Indiana came to participate in the parade.

“This is my first time to travel to Selma, and I wanted to be able to come and share in this special weekend,” Hamilton said. “The people I have met so far have been very welcoming and kind, and I am already looking forward to when I can come back and visit.”

Cheryl Hatcher traveled from Orrville to view the parade alongside members of her family.

“Selma has changed so much and it is truly a beautiful place,” Hatcher said. “It has meant a lot to me to see the diversity represented here today. I have heard a few people saying ‘keep the dream alive,’ and I think that is very important for everyone to remember. Understanding our history helps us learn how we can move forward.”