Roanoke march to MLK statue honors 56th anniversary of Selma march

ROANOKE, Va. – Sunday marked the 56th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Bloody Sunday” march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma for voting rights. About a hundred people honored his actions by marching over the Roanoke bridge that bears his name.

The march over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge was led by Dr. King’s old organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Roanoke chapter president Dr. Perneller Chubb-Wilson recounted her experiences fighting with Dr. King for civil rights during Sunday’s event.

“I’ve been fighting ever since 1963, when Martin Luther King was in Danville, Virginia,” Chubb-Wilson told a crowd at the base of Dr. King’s statue. “When you talk about civil rights, I don’t ever get tired of talking.”

The march symbolized the progress made since Dr. King’s march into Selma, but Chubb-Wilson believes there is still work to be done.

“We haven’t accomplished that much until we get justice in the courtroom,” Chubb-Wilson said. “People my age, we know, but we have to teach our young children why they are where they are today.”

Other speakers at the ceremony echoed Chubb-Wilson’s message of perseverance.

“We have to march on with our words and our actions and become our brother’s keeper,” said Rev. Amy Hodge Ziglar of Mt. Zion AME Church.

“We know the call and how dangerous the civil rights movement was for some, just like COVID is now,” said Roanoke civil-rights activist and SCLC member BJ Lark. “We come because we understand the work.”

Several Roanoke leaders attended the ceremony, including mayor Sherman Lea and vice-mayor Trish White-Boyd.