The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade will be held downtown, on the square, on Monday, Jan. 20, starting at 2 p.m.

The local branch of the NAACP will lead the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend events with a musical extravaganza on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 5 p.m., at Mother Easter Baptist Church. Local choirs and musical groups will provide an uplifting beginning to this weekend.

The NAACP vice president, Eddie Warren, has worked diligently to expand the activities of the weekend and is hopeful that all churches will be represented and the community will fill the church.

On Sunday, Jan. 19, at 5 p.m., the NAACP, in conjunction with the Colquitt County Interdenominational Christian Alliance (CCICA), will have a joint inspirational service honoring Dr. King. The speaker for this occasion will be the Rev. Daniel Simmons, senior pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Albany, Ga. He began preaching in 1984.

Simmons received his Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Albany State College in 1977, his Masters of Arts in counseling from the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. in 1985, and his Doctorate of Ministry from Bethany Theological Seminary in Dothan, Ala. in 1991. His work experience includes 17 years as a rehabilitation counselor with the Georgia Department of Rehabilitation Services and as a community development specialist.

He is involved with numerous ministerial organizations on local, state and national levels to include the Albany Baptist Ministers Conference, the Fowltown Missionary Baptist Association Congress of Christian Education, the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia and the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education. In addition, he serves on and supports several community and governmental boards.

Simmons, the son of Pinkie Norwood Simmons and the late Rev. Perry Simmons Sr., is a native of Cairo, Ga. and is a third generation preacher. He is married to Diane Davis Simmons and they are the parents of two children and the grandparents of three.

This inspirational service will be held at Friendship Baptist Church. Music will be furnished by the Friendship Gospel Choir and renowned Civil Rights Freedom Singer, Rutha M. Harris of Albany, Ga.

At 11 a.m., on Monday, Jan. 20, the Women’s Federated Club will celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday with its annual service sponsored in partnership with Southwest Georgia Bank.

This year marks the 26th celebration of this event. The program will be held at Union Missionary Baptist Church, where Rev. R.O. Calhoun is the pastor. The Women’s Federated Club of Moultrie was founded in 1958 under the leadership of Jestina B. Lewis. The club is affiliated with the Georgia and the National Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs.

The keynote speaker for this service will be the Rev. Travis A. Morris, a third generation preacher from the state of Texas. In 1996, at the age of 26, Morris accepted his calling to preach. He has been a full-time pastor for 17 years, pastoring churches in San Augustine, Austin, and Houston, Texas, before beginning a new chapter in his life as pastor of Cray Chapel C.M.E. Church in Albany, Ga.

Morris has served as a city commissioner for the Southeast Ward of Nacogdoches, Texas, the youth committee for the Austin Police Department, the Commission on Human Rights Board of Texas and as director of Evangelism for both the Southwest Texas Region and now the South Georgia Region.

The music will be furnished by C. A. Gray Junior High School choir under the direction of Beth Miller.

The culminating event for this year’s celebration will be the MLK parade sponsored by the NAACP, using as a theme “We’ve Come A Long Way…But Still In the Struggle.” The 50th Regiment Band, along with the Terrell High School Band, will provide music for the parade. Local schools, clubs, business and churches will be a part of the lineup.

This year’s parade will be led by former Moultrian Willie Frank Wilson. He is a 1963 graduate of William Bryant High School, receiving his Bachelor of Science from Fort Valley State College and a Masters in Public Administration from Suffield University.

Wilson is a “Moultrie” point of pride. He has been selected by the Jaycees as an Outstanding Man in America, An Outstanding Georgia Citizen by Secretary of State Cathy Cox and A Georgia Black Achiever by the Macon, Georgia Informer Newspaper.

He is a member of Shiloh Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon and church organist. Currently Wilson serves as chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Albany Housing Authority, board member for PRICS and the Albany Leadership Council.

He came out of retirement and accepted the appointment as interim executive director of the Albany Civil Rights Institute. For several years he has written a weekly column, “Frankly Speaking,” for the Southwest Georgian Newspaper.

He said, that he enjoys golfing, bowling, reading, writing, cooking, traveling and that he and his wife, Olivia, enjoy spoiling their grandchildren.

Lineup for the parade will begin at 1 p.m., and the parade will step off at 2 p.m. Entries will be accepted until the time of the parade.

For further information about any of the weekend events, please call Isabella Brooks at 985-7466, Alma Fleming at 890-3803 or Barbara Jelks at 589-2457.


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