Lamar County students to be recognized during MLK celebration


The Concerned Citizens of Lamar County will host the 32nd annual Martin Luther King celebration and parade beginning at noon Saturday, Jan. 19, with a memorial service at Spring Chapel Baptist Church of Purvis.

The theme for the program is “Rejoicing in the Blessing of the Past, While Embracing the Challenges of the Future,” said Harry Breland, one of the event’s organizers. The featured speaker will be the Rev. Dennis Holder, pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church and former principal at Lumberton High School. Music will be provided by a guest soloist and the guest choir, Sweet Beulah Baptist choir, of Lumberton.

The parade, which starts from the Jefferson Todd Education Center, will follow the memorial service at 2 p.m. and will feature bands from Jackson, Jim Hill, Hattiesburg, and Jefferson Davis County high schools.

Marshals for the parade include the Rev. Holder and Hampshire Collins, a Sumrall athletic standout, who served 20 years in the Marines and 20 years with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Those welcomed to participate in the parade include drill and dance teams, motorcycle groups. No four wheelers and no horses will be allowed in the parade. There is no entry fee. 

Breland said the event will not only honor King, but academic and athletic achievements will be highlighted.

“Part of our idea is to bring the communities together, with Sumrall, Oak Grove, Purvis and Lumberton,” he said. “We recognize some of the people that have done well. We always give plaques out to the schools. As you know, Lamar County has one of the state’s outstanding school districts. So we give that to let them know that education is important and we want them to know that we appreciate their hard work.

“Then we recognize the sports in that program. We do a lot of good stuff to try to motivate people to do good things and to let to the community know that we are proud of them.”

Breland said the Martin Luther King celebration and parade has two purposes.

“We want the program to be educational for the kids, but we also want them to understand that they can do this too,” he said. “We give certificates in a case to two or three kids from each football team and boys and girls basketball teams that have shown citizenship, scholarship and sportsmanship. We want them all to work together because if they can’t get their lessons, then they can’t play.”


Anyone who wants more information on the event can contact Breland at (601) 268-0844 or (601) 297-3489.