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Plenty of events on tap for Jubilee

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The Bridge Crossing Jubilee commemorating the 53rd anniversary of Bloody Sunday is swiftly approaching. The first events begin Thursday, March 1 and go through Sunday, March 4.

State Sen. Hank Sanders, who is passionate about the commemoration of what happened during the voting rights movement in 1965, is a large supporter and organizer of the Jubilee. Sanders gave a breakdown of some of the larger events taking place during 2018’s Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

Thursday, March 1

Mass Meeting: 7-9 p.m.- At Tabernacle Baptist Church, interested Jubilee participants and attendees will meet for a mass gathering and to listen to the lessons of guest speaker Bishop Staccato Powell. The significance of the mass meeting at this church dates back to the civil rights era when Tabernacle Baptist became the first church in Selma to host these mass gatherings. According to Sanders, the meetings at churches served as an incubator for civil rights discussions.

“It is so symbolic because back then a church could have been burned for allowing these mass meetings. That is why it is the first event of Jubilee, because of how powerful these meetings were,” Sanders said.

Friday, March 2

Children’s Sojourn: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., $7 fee- The sojourn is designed to benefit the children by providing them with a fun environment while learning about the history of Selma and the voting rights movement. Sanders says this event provides them a learning opportunity while enjoying themselves.

The event will take place at the School of Discovery at 400 Washington St. Performances will feature the Freedom Singers, the Chakaba Stilt Walkers, Viver Brasil Dance Co., African Kings & Queens, stories from Children of the Movement and excerpts from the play “The Fairytale.”

Mock Trial: 5-7 p.m.- From the Dallas County Courthouse, the mock trial highlights a voting rights issue from the past or from the present day. The case is then broken down by expert witnesses and Jubilee participants. The expert witnesses are yet to be announced.

Saturday, March 3

Foot Soldiers Breakfast: 8-9 a.m., $5 ticket- Individuals will meet at R.B. Hudson Middle School, located at 1701 Summerfield Road, for a breakfast inspired by people who were part of the civil rights movement. The  people who present at the breakfast are those who went through the Selma to Montgomery march or other aspects of the civil rights era. The term “foot soldiers” refers to members of the movement who were dedicated to earning their rights.

“There is live history there. The only people who speak were part of the movement. It is history in the flesh,” Sanders said.

Jubilee Parade: 9-10:30 a.m.- Beginning at Concordia College, the annual parade commemorating the civil rights movement will make its way down Broad Street and will finish at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Battle of the Bands: 10:45-11:15 a.m.- Various high school and college bands will try to out-do each other in a completion located in the School of Discovery’s parking lot. Some of these bands also make up the bands performing in the Jubilee Parade.

Jubilee Street Festival: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., $12 advance ticket, $17 gate ticket- The Jubilee Street Festival lines up an assortment of musical entertainment from various genres and hosts street vendors strewn throughout Water Ave. Earlier this month, the Selma City Council chose to move the Jubilee’s street festival back to its original location on Water Avenue after last year’s celebration was held on private property on the Selmont side of Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Some scheduled performances include Regina Belle (R&B), Sensational Wells Brothers (Gospel) and D’Aye (Hip Hop).

Freedom Flame Awards Gala: 7-10 p.m., $50 ticket, $450 table- Taking place at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center, the awards gala will recognize those who have taken strides towards civil rights advancement. Guests include Dick Gregory and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Honoree of the gala is Churches of the Movement. Viver Brasil Dance, also performing at the Children’s Sojourn and other events, will perform for the gala attendees. The Carl C. Morgan Center is located at 211 Washington St.

Sunday, March 4

Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast: 7:30-9:30 a.m.- The breakfast is dedicated to commemorating the achievements and sacrifices by the Kings in their journey through the civil rights movement. This year’s breakfast will also recognize the 50th anniversary since Dr. King’s assassination. Known for its history of prestigious guest speakers, the keynote speaker this year will be United States Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California). A rising star in the Democratic Party, Sanders expressed his enthusiasm with her upcoming visit to Selma.

“Senator Harris is a very powerful speaker and advocate, and many people view her as a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. This may turn out to be a historical occasion,” Sanders said.

Other speakers for the breakfast include Sen. Doug Jones, Rep. Terri Sewell and others.

For tickets, contact Priscilla Mitchell at (334) 431-0015 or mlkunityb@gmail.com.

Pre-March Rally: 1:30-2:30 p.m.- Participants in the reenactment of the Selma to Montgomery march will meet at Brown Chapel AME Church, located at 410 Martin Luther King St., to lift their spirits before the march. According to Sanders, civil rights marches usually hosted rallies beforehand in order to get all the activists in a uniform positive attitude for the march. This is accomplished through singing and other unionizing activities.

Reenactment of Bloody Sunday March from Selma to Montgomery: 2:30-3:30 p.m.- Starting at Brown Chapel and going over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the march is to commemorate those who participated in the peacefully-intended march that ended in violence and bloodshed. Thousands are expected to participate.

“This is not a celebration, but rather a commemoration,” Sanders said. “When those 550 people marched and got beat, it brought about change. A moment of suffering ended up lifting the whole country.”

Post-March Rally: 3:30-4:30 p.m.- taking place at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the rally is intended for moments of reflection and conclusions. As Sanders describes it, “It is like the benefaction in church.”

Post-March Gospel Concert: 3-6:30 p.m., $5 ticket (or included in Festival ticket)- One of the last events of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, the concert features unification through song and praise along with a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Taking place at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, multiple gospel performers will uplift the souls of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee participants.

“There is nothing like singing to help unify us both physically and spiritually,” Sanders said. “It ties the movement together in a special way. Prayer, singing and marching are all very important for unifying.”

Performances include Kathy Taylor, Potter’s Place Church Choir, Tabernacle Baptist Choir, Ellwood Community Choir and many others. The Jubilee schedule is subject to change. For more information or a complete schedule, visit www.selmajubilee.com.