Mass meeting kicks off Bridge Crossing Jubilee event

Published 1:52 pm Monday, February 25, 2019

The Bridge Crossing Jubilee has always opened with a mass meeting at Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church.

The 54th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” will begin Thursday night with the mass meeting at 7 p.m. Pastor Jamal Bryant of New Birth Baptist Church in Atlanta, will be the guest speaker. Bryant is the founder of Jamal Bryant Ministries.

The church played host to the first mass meeting in Selma for voting rights during the Civil Rights Era in 1963. Peaceful protesters were beaten as they marched to Montgomery to fight for the right to vote on March 7, 1965.

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Dallas County Circuit Court Judge Collins A. Pettaway Jr., Jubilee Mass Meeting Coordinator, said the mass meeting is the perfect way to open the Jubilee.

“It’s very important to start with the mass meeting and remind people about the struggle,” Pettaway said. “The mass meeting gives people an idea to see what took place. We give people a recap of what occurred in those times.”

Pettaway praised everyone who participated in Bloody Sunday from local residents to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“It’s easy to talk about what happened back then now,” Pettaway said. “A lot of people had courage back then. Some people take life for granted. I don’t want to go back.”

Pettaway, a former attorney in Dallas County, recalls growing up when segregated drinking fountains existed.

“I remember there were separate drinking fountains for white people and black people,” Pettaway said. “Black people couldn’t drink from the same fountain with