Each year, to commemorate the birth of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., marchers take to the streets of Walnut Cove. They march up Main Street, singing old spirituals such as “We Shall Overcome,” all the way to Rising Star Baptist Church in the London Community. Once there, they celebrate the memory of Dr. King and his ideals in a church service with singing and praise.
This year will be no different.
The Christian Awareness Program (CAP), a group composed of volunteers from several local churches, sponsors the annual event which will take place this year on Monday, Jan. 21. The march will begin at the Cove Mart Citgo at 111 South Main Street, Walnut Cove, at about 11:30 a.m.
In an effort to keep parking at Cove Mart to a minimum, participants are asked to take advantage of the shuttle service which will transport them from Rising Star to the site of the March. Buses will be leaving the Rising Star parking lot around 11 a.m. This arrangement also ensures that when the service is over in the early afternoon, participants will have their vehicles on hand there at the church.
The service at Rising Star is expected to begin shortly after noon on Monday. This year there will be no featured speaker. Instead, CAP Chairperson Charles Welch says that he hopes the youth who participated in the annual writing contest will speak out about their compositions.
“We’re trying to get them as much involved as possible,” Welch explains.
Through the years, CAP has sponsored an MLK essay contest for local youth. This year, the contest was changed somewhat. Instead of an essay, young people were asked to take the theme of “How Can We Move Forward?” — based on Scripture from Genesis 26:12-13 — and compose an acronym using the word “Forward.” Then, they were to write a short narrative about the acronym.
In years past, the contest has been divided into two age brackets, but this year, it was simply open to all youth ages 6-18.
In addition to the youth speakers, there will be the usual singing and praise dances. Welch notes that there are supposed to be two step teams coming as well.
CAP invites the public to take part in the March to honor Dr. King, who was assassinated in April 1968. His actual birthday is January 15, but the official national holiday is celebrated on the third Monday of January.