Gumptown Magazine (Montgomery, AL) Residents and community leaders gathered last Saturday morning at Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The program “Meeting at Mount Zion. A Conversation”, was presented by the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA).
Robert E. Jones, President of the MIA set the tone for the meeting in his greetings. He began by thanking those who served as foot soldiers in the boycott movement. Some of those individuals were present. Jones also stressed the importance of youth involvement, unity, and respect. “We need unity for our people and respect for church, home, and education.”
The Right Reverend Dennis V. Proctor, Presiding Bishop, Alabama- Florida Episcopal District AME Zion Church, delivered the morning’s message, “Can we get there from here?” which stemmed from Rev. Dr. Martin L. King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. Bishop Proctor talked about different ways that Montgomery can arrive to the Promised Land that King saw.
“We can get there if we do it together. We have to re-engage young people” said Bishop Proctor as he explained how the activities of the boycott movement were spearheaded by young individuals. Then Bishop Proctor also shared how he was humble to speak because his father helped coordinate Freedom Riders in upstate New York.
The Silver- Richards- Steward Center of Excellence gave a performance re-enacting the Meeting at Mount Zion from 1955. Dr. Tommie Stewart is the director of the center.
There was also a panel discussion that focused on current issues impacting Montgomery. Ibrahim Kareem Lee, Principal at Bellingrath Middle School served as the moderator. The panel included business leaders, community leaders, and elected officials. Montgomery County Circuit Court Clerk Tiffany McCord was one of the panelists. She talked about the lack of opportunities in education and safety in West and South Montgomery.
Another panelist, Loyd Howard of Howard PHD Cosmetics spoke about restoring the triad of family, church, and school. “We focus on the children but parents are changing. Family seems to be falling apart and there is no parental involvement” Howard said. “If [families] come together many problems will be solved.”
The MIA was created when pastors and other prominent leaders met on December 5, 1955 after Rosa Parks’ arrest for refusing to give her seat up to a white passenger on a Montgomery City Bus.
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