Sanders announced events for Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee

Published 11:09 am Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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On Tuesday, former State Senator Hank Sanders officially announced plans for the 59th annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee schedule. 

Sanders, who co-founded the Jubilee with his wife, Rose Sanders, said the event offers something for all ages.

“There is something for everyone to enjoy at this year’s jubilee,” Sanders said. “The biggest crowd always comes on Sunday for the Bloody Sunday events, but thousands show up for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”

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Sanders said President Joe Biden received an invitation to attend the Jubilee, but has not confirmed he will attend for a second straight year. Sanders also said members of the White House staff plan to attend the Jubilee, but he did not reveal any names. He said an announcement will be released when guests confirm their attendance.

The Jubilee kicks off Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. with the Old Fashioned Mass Meeting at Tabernacle Baptist Church, the site of the original mass meetings, and concludes with the walk across Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 3. Dr. David Peoples, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, is the Mass Meeting keynote speaker. 

Dr. Peoples and other ministers will participate in a Ministers of Justice Roundtable at Tabernacle on Thursday at 1 p.m. Tipton Middle School will host a Voting Rights History Bowl the same day from 9 – 11 a.m.

Education Summits, which are free and open to the public, are scheduled for Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Wallace Community College Selma (WCCS).

Other main events Sanders touted include the Mock Trial on March 1, taking place at the Dallas County Courthouse. Unity Awards recipients include four of the original Freedom Singers, Maria Diarra Keita of Mali, West Africa and the late Hosea Williams, whose daughter will be accepting the award for him posthumously. 

The Freedom Flame Awards will take place Saturday evening, 7 p.m., at Selma High School. One of “The Tennessee Three,” Tennessee State Representative Gloria Johnson, is one of the award recipients.

The Annual Foot Soldiers Breakfast on March 2 will be hosted by Selma High School and the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, slated for March 3, will kick off at WCCS at 7 a.m. Numerous Civil Rights Speakers will participate.

Attorney Sharon Wheeler, a member of the Selma to Montgomery committee, also attended the press conference held at 1 Union Street. 

“I’ve been coming to the jubilee since 2000 and I enjoy it,” Wheeler said. “If you’ve been to the jubilee before, you’ll find more things to enjoy when you come back.”

The theme of the 2024 Jubilee is, “Return to the Bridge: Democracy and the Vote are at Stake.”

Sanders said this year’s jubilee should be viewed with the importance of the first one in 1965. Among historical Civil Rights events that took place in Selma is “Bloody Sunday,” which paved the way forthe Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Right now, democracy in this country, the symbol of democracy all over the world, is under great attack,” Sanders said. “Right now, the right to vote is under severe attack.’’