Brent Maze: Looking back at the Jubilee

Published 10:23 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Monday marked my one-month anniversary with being publisher of The Selma Times-Journal. That’s right, my first day was on the Ides of March. My one-month anniversary was Tax Day. So there’s that with regard to those odd holidays, I suppose.

However, that was not my first time to be a part of the coverage of The Times-Journal. Two weeks prior to that, I was in town for the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, or the Bridge Crossing Jubilee Festival. I came into town not knowing who all was here. It was my first time to see James and Bill in person. Bill gave me a nice window tour of Selma. I also got to look in on the place where I have now moved in, which is one of the downtown loft apartments managed by A.C. Reeves. 

Both of those things were exciting for me as it allowed me to get my bearings for a community. It helped me start figuring out how to get around town.

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But that weekend wasn’t like any normal weekend around town. It was my first opportunity to see Vice President Kamala Harris in person during the Jubilee celebration on Sunday. But it was so much more than that for me.

First of all, I got a chance to hang out at the Jubilee street festival on the Saturday before. It was great getting to meet several of the vendors and people who attended the festival. One thing I have always enjoyed is showing up to any festival like that and taking photos of the event.

Then on Sunday, I got to meet quite a few people who were just going to church that morning. I stood outside First Baptist Church as I was awaiting the arrival of James to head over to stake out our position on the media platform awaiting everyone’s arrival.

During those few minutes, I was able to strike up a conversation with many of the parishioners who were coming to church that Sunday morning. Some of them were like me, inconvenienced by the Secret Service being in town. On Saturday morning, they had shut down everything below Alabama Avenue on Lauderdale and Broad streets. I was hoping to get a chance to come visit the Times-Journal before they shut it down, but they shut it down earlier than expected. 

It was fun visiting with them, and it set up the rest of the day very nicely.

After getting through security, I got to see a lot of political leaders come out that day, current and former, including former Gov. Don Siegelman, State Rep. Terri Sewell, State Rep. Prince Chestnut, State Sen. Robert Stewart and many others. I apologize if I didn’t name you.

I also got a chance to see one of the giants in the realm of civil rights when the Rev. Al Sharpton showed up.

Then as the event drew nearer and nearer, the crowd began to grow larger so that basically the whole block from Water Avenue to Alabama Avenue was completely full with the crowd spilling over toward Selma Avenue.

This was my first experience of doing the event that is uniquely Selma. I hope you enjoyed the coverage of the event. I look forward to experiencing more events in Selma including the 60th anniversary next year.

And please feel free to invite me and the Selma Times-Journal staff to future community events. We’d love to make sure we get those events covered.