The first-ever Civil Rights Week wrapped up Monday after a weeklong series of educational and fun events sponsored by the Murfreesboro chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
“In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined that it would have turned out this well,” said Rev. Kenny Williams, president of the local NAACP chapter. “It went very well despite the weather conditions.”
Snow and ice didn’t stop people from participating in the health hair at First Baptist Church, held Jan. 14. Officials offered tests for sexually transmitted diseases, cholesterol levels, mammograms and other screenings as well.
Williams said the weather was bad Jan. 15, but the “Global Competitiveness and Academic Agility” program at Cedar Grove Primitive Baptist Church still turned out great.
“We had some wonderful presenters,” he said. “It was an informational session with different things that pertain to getting your GED diploma.”
There was political action Jan. 16 at New Hope Church of God in Christ.
“There were individuals there from the (Rutherford County) Election Commission,” Williams said, adding the importance of voting was discussed by members of the chapter and representatives from the Rutherford Country Election Commission.
The action continued Jan. 17 with Legal Address Day at Central Christian Church.
During the afternoon, there was a gun buyback program, co-sponsored by the NAACP and the Murfreesboro Police Department.
“Six guns were turned in within the first half-hour,” Williams said. “Twenty guns were turned in total. We were there from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. After 5 (o’clock), we went into the church, where we had individuals from the housing authorities and the Tennessee Career Center come and speak. That event was well attended as well. Thursday afternoon and night were really successful.”
On Jan. 18, a Teen Summit was held at Patterson Park Community Center.
“Over 400 people were in attendance,” Williams said. “People were educated but also got to see live performances. The kids got free T-shirts. That night went off without a hitch.”
Next up was the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast on Jan. 19 at the James Union Building at MTSU.
“This was such a successful and huge event,” Williams said. “Over 300 people attended. We had a very good turnout.”
On Jan. 20, Gloria Bonner presented a performance art presentation called “From whence we came,” at First Baptist Church. There were other performances as well.
“The Metro Praise Dancers came down from Nashville and did a couple selections. It was just beautiful,” Williams recalled. “We had spoken word by Michael McClendon. I couldn’t be more pleased. That whole program was very well attended.”
The Civil Rights Week concluded Monday with the Dr. Martin Luther King Gathering and March.
Participants gathered that afternoon at Central Magnet School and marched to Patterson Park Community Center, where pastor Donald Whitmore provided an excerpt of King’s speech, followed by a viewing of the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama.
People are already looking forward to new year’s Civil Rights Week, he said.
“This was the NAACP’s first Civil Rights Week in the nation,” Williams said. “We’re already looking forward to next year.”