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Brown Chapel hosting college expo in honor of Dr. King

By Oniska Blevins | The Selma Times-Journal

Bruce Holmes Sr. still remembers what it felt like to have Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak at his church in 1965.

The historic Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church played a pivotal role in King’s visit to Selma during the infamous 1965 voting rights campaign. The campaign led to the organization of the march from Selma to Montgomery, which essentially resulted in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 being passed.

Even though King was a revered civil rights leader who stood for change, he was hated by white supremacists that did not want to see that change made. On April 4, 1968, he was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of his hotel room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Now, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Holmes is hosting the Selma Youth Academic Expo that he organized in King’s honor from 9-1 p.m. at Brown Chapel.

Local youth in grade levels 9-12 will be bussed to the church to visit with representatives from Wallace Community College Selma, Selma University, Alabama State University, Alabama A&M University, Miles College and military recruiters.

Selma Mayor Darrio Melton will serve as the guest speaker and Councilman Michael Johnson will be in attendance as well.

Holmes said there is no better way to celebrate King’s legacy than through education, and he feels like local youth are in need of guidance and love.

“They are crying out for help,” he said. “We’ve got to show more attention to our youth.”

Standing outside the nearby George Washington Carver Homes as a child, he would listen to Dr. King speak at the church over the speakers. He said King stressed the importance of knowing that “if there’s something you want you have to go out and get it, but education is first.”

“I just want to keep on giving back and let those children in GWC know that just because you come out of the projects like I did, that you can make it,” he said.

Holmes believes if Dr. King were here today he would tell the youth to keep striving for academic excellence and to remember they are able to achieve greatness no matter where they are from. It only matters where they are headed.