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Area to remember Martin Luther King Jr.

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- Allen Lee didn't wear his best clothes to Washington, D.C. in 1963 when he went to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak.

He and others helping to organize the March on Washington were advised to wear old clothes and tennis shoes in case they had to run from police or dogs. But the march was peaceful and Lee came home with many good remembrances.

Next Monday, he and others in the community will have a chance to talk about those and other memories during Harrison County's second Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The day will begin at 6 p.m. at the courthouse with a candlelight service. Participants will then walk down Main Street to Mount Zion Baptist Church, 315. E. B. Saunders Way, where a ceremony will take place, said Lee, president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

"We had one last year that was very successful even though we had cold weather," he said. "I was surprised. I hope the weather cooperates this year."

In case of bad or extremely cold weather, the march will not take place, he said. Instead, people will meet at the church for the ceremony.

"We'll just gather at the church to sing and talk about Martin Luther King," Lee said.

After the church ceremony, hot chocolate and other refreshments will be available.

Last year, about 20 people took part in the march, and between 40 and 50 attended the church gathering, Lee said.

Included in that group was about a dozen young people, Lee said. He would like to see even more young people this year.

"That's why we're doing this so early in the evening, so young people can attend and still get out of bed early the next morning to go to school," he said.

Lee said that King's message is filtering down to today's youth.

"That's one thing that families have to do," Lee said. "If the family doesn't teach (about King) too, what they learn about him in school won't stick with them."

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404 or by e-mail at pdarst@exponent-telegram.com.

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