History Loves a Parade
Morgan County Branch NAACP
puts on annual parade and festival
story by matt Burgoyne
photos by Angelina Bellebuono
As the Color Guard rounded the corner, the sun peaked through the clouds bringing all of the colors of spring into full focus. The sounds of laughter and camaraderie matched the hundreds of smiling faces crowding the streets of downtown Madison, all eagerly waiting for the festivities to begin. It was a day for community and celebration as the Morgan County NAACP Parade marched through Madison to honor the past, present and future of people and an organization.
“We as individuals get a chance to celebrate our heritage and today everybody can celebrate with us,” said Laura Butler, president of the Morgan County NAACP and organizer of the parade.
Despite the gloomy early morning conditions, the procession congregated at the Board of Education to organize into line. Distinguished members of Morgan County dressed in their Sunday best. Members of the Frederick Douglass High School marching band warmed up their instruments, providing a soundtrack of music to accompany the dull hum of car engines and excited people.
With over 70 participants, the parade contained a wide variety of transports, ranging from sports cars to four wheelers and a boat. Every part of the procession was adorned with a combination of brightly colored balloons, streamers and signs. Some honoring passed loved ones, and others advertising businesses or re-elections. Although many people were recognized, the NAACP was the star of the show.
“This is a great opportunity to get the community involved with the NAACP,” said Demetrius Fisher, who works the NAACP of the Southeast. “It lets people know we are still here, supporting social justice for all.”
The NAACP of Morgan County reaches out to all members of the community. The NAACP Youth Council was also present at Saturday’s event.
“The Youth Council wants to remember the past to make the future,” said Kassandra Andrews.
The Youth Council is in place to teach the youth about the NAACP. It also teaches young people how to handle discrimination or help others who are suffering from discrimination.
“The youth are the NAACP of tomorrow and the council is used to train them,” said Sandra Williams. The Youth Council and the rest of the NAACP may be nation and state wide, but the Morgan County branch is unique.
Morgan County holds the one and only NAACP parade in Georgia. No other county or city in the state commemorates the organization in this way, giving yet another reason for celebration on Saturday.
Following the parade, the entertainment continued with a second performance from the marching band and a street full of food vendors. The smoke from the grills blanketed the area with a haze and an irresistible smell of barbecue chicken and hotdogs. Children ran around the crowds of people balancing a drink in one hand and a funnel cake in the other. There was no hate present on Saturday. The love of this community was evident and only furthered the success of the parade.
The parade brought together a gathering of Morgan County citizens to remember the past, live the present, and plan for the future of an organization and the equal treatment of all members of society.