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Event honors foot soldiers on Sunday

Hundreds of cars, RVs, and other vehicles joined Sunday’s Memorial Tribute Motorcade that ended at the Lowndes County Interpretive Center in White Hall and honored foot soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday in 1965.

The event began at the Perry County Courthouse in Marion and continued to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and past the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute and on to the Interpretive Center.

The event was organized by Burgess Bailey, William Brown, and Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce President Ozelle Hubert.

“The purpose of this motorcade memorial was to acknowledge all the foot soldiers, honor those who are still living, and remember those who were there on Bloody Sunday,” Bailey said.

“We were able to represent over 300-foot soldiers in the motorcade. We also had family members from Jimmy Lee Jackson, his daughter, and granddaughter, participate. So, I say mission accomplished.”

“I was just the spark for this event,” Bailey explained.  “So many people worked very hard to make this motorcade memorial a success.  And I especially want to thank William Brown and his wife Mittie, as well Randy Williams, Ozzie “Doc” Hubert, Henry Alan, and everyone else who helped by providing the names of the foot soldiers. “

Hubert said organizers are still collecting names of the foot soldiers for next year’s event. Organizers want to collect as many names as possible.

“Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. That was the saying that came into center focus during this event,” Bailey said. “We’re still working to gather all the names of the foot soldiers for our event next year. We’re looking to make it bigger and better.”

Hubert called the event a tribute to Civil Rights, especially the unknown and known foot soldiers.

“We were celebrating the Selma to Montgomery March by way of Lowndes County,” he said.

RVs came from as far away as North Carolina, Birmingham, and Selma to participate.

Hubert said there were Corvette clubs that were affiliated with the International Council of Corvette Clubs from Mobile, Mississippi, Huntsville, and a Camaro club from Birmingham. There were also others who came from Tallahassee and Atlanta.

Hubert said there is now a national call for other Corvette, Camaro, Mustang, biker and other muscle car groups to participate in the 2022 event.

“Delmartre Bethel, mayor of White Hall, welcomed the group to the Lowndes Interpretive Center,” he said. “Sheriff Chris West and his staff and Parks Service Supervisor Mr. Willie Adams also helped.”

Hubert said Sunday’s motorcade was great for Lowndes County.

This is just the beginning, too.

Hubert has plans to ask the Lowndes County Commission to name the original section of Hwy. 80 in Lowndesboro the “Civil/Voters’ Rights Foot Soldiers 1965 Trail.”

“It’s a half-mile section,” he said.

Hubert hopes participating in the motorcade and marketing Lowndes County’s historic participation in the Civil Rights Movement will help draw more people to the Interpretive Center and other historical landmarks in the county. “If people come to the Equal Justice Center in Montgomery, we hope they will come and visit our landmarks, too,” he said. “That would bring tourism dollars to our county.”