The Lewisburg Branch of the NAACP conducted an MLK Day March down West Commerce Street on Monday, the day set aside as a national holiday to celebrate the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
"This is the first one, but it won't be the last one," Martha Lyttle said of the march from the parking lot where Ascend Federal Credit Union had offices on West Commerce Street to the east steps of the Marshall County Courthouse.
"We have come today to honor a great man," NAACP Branch President Gary Davis said on the courthouse steps where several others spoke to continue Rev. King's dream.
Davis called the event the "first of many marches" and said, "There were many places you could have been today, but you chose to come out."
Dr. Larry Thomas talked about "your right to education" and the people's "right to live the kind of life you want." He noted that none of them thought "we'd see in our own lifetime a black man as president of the United States.
"Don't waste your opportunity to learn," Dr. Thomas said.
He reminded the audience that, "Martin Luther King fought and died for your right to go to any school you want.
"Let freedom ring!" he exclaimed.
During the rally on the steps, the Rev. Orvil Nichols led prayers for unity.
Dr. Patsey Thomas and Mary McDaniel led the audience in singing "We Shall Overcome," changing one of the verses to "we'll walk hand in hand today."
Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett said Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) had been on his way to the march, but was called back on a personal matter as his mother was being released from the hospital Monday.
Speaking about the theme for the march, Unity in the Community, Davis explained, "It's all about working together in peace, unity and harmony.
After the march, participants were invited to the Turner Center for refreshments.
"It's a good event," Rafal Alexander said. "It's good to see everybody out for what Martin Luther King stood for which is equality for everyone.
"Even though it was spearheaded for black people," Alexander said, "it's for all people.
"What affects us today affects everyone tomorrow."