‘King’ for King: Peters to lead Saturday’s MLK parade

Published 4:53 am Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The members of the Concerned Citizens will have their 13th annual black history celebration in memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday, Jan. 14, in Varnado.

The celebration will include a parade, food and recitals in memory of the slain civil rights leader.

Levi Lewis, a parish council member and the coordinator for the Concerned Citizens’ Martin Luther King Jr. parade, said the tradition is a way to keep King’s ideals alive and resonant with younger people.

“We want to include our community in the celebrating the national holiday,” he said. “And we wanted to introduce our youth of the community to the life of Martin Luther King and encourage them to learn and to participate in keeping his dream and hope alive.”

Lewis added that given the partisan political sentiment nationally, remembering King’s legacy of nonviolent protest in the name of social justice could be helpful.

“There’s great uncertainty and it appears our country is at a crossroads and likely changing directions,” he said. “It’s more important now than ever that we keep Martin Luther King’s vision clear and in our consciousness and in the minds of our leaders.”

The parade will begin at Varnado High School and culminate with a program that includes refreshments and activities for all ages to enjoy.

Lewis’ group, the Concerned Citizens, request that churches, organizations and schools participate in the black history program. The group is seeking each church or organization to submit at least two entries in the parade at $50 each. Individuals may place entries in the parade at $25 each. Parade entries are responsible for their throws throughout the parade.

The Concerned Citizens request that all entry fees be paid by the end of today. All participants should be at the intersection of Moses Road and Fornea Road in Varnado by 11 a.m. All entries must be lined up and ready to go by noon. In addition to the youth participating in the parade, the Concerned Citizens request that each church select at least one youth to participate in the culminating program with a song, poem or reading in honor or remembrance of King. For more information, call Ryan Jefferson at 985-986-3246 or Lewis at 504-453-7914.

The event will also crown the king and queen of the 2017 parade. The king will be Willie B. Peters Jr. of Greater Center Baptist Church. Peters is the son of Jessie Mae Newsome Peters and the late Willie B. Peters Sr. from Angie. Peters is married to Kathy E. Peters, the queen of the parade. They are the parents of Cheryl Walker, Tammy Peters, Marlon Peters and Willie B. Peters III.

Willie Peters Jr. attended and graduated from Wesley Ray High School and he attended Southwestern University and Northshore Technical College.

Kathy E. Peters is also a member of Greater Baptist Church.

She attended and graduated West Marion High School in Foxworth, Miss., and she attended and graduated from Pearl River Junior College with a degree in clerical proficiency with honors and then she attended the Mississippi Baptist Seminary and received a certificate in the study of theology.

Her hobbies include cooking, decorating and sewing and she also enjoys taking care of her family and others.

Past kings and queens of the parade include:

• 2016 — Lesley McKinley and Alva Martin.

• 2015 — Rev. Terrence August and Cynthia August.

• 2014 — Joe L. Lewis and Shirley Craft.

• 2013 — Donald Gholar and Sylvia Gholar.

• 2012 — Gilbert Moses and Mildred Peters.

• 2011 — Ozell Nichols and Annie Pearl Pernell.

• 2010 — Richard Foster and Vivian Peters.

• 2009 — Sidney Burns and Tresslar Moore Lewis.

• 2008 — Lonnie Lewis and Roxie Roberts.

• 2007 — Freddie Jefferson and Roxie Roberts.

• 2006 — Ellis Burrell Sr. and Ora Dee Williams.

• 2005 — Wilton Moses and Maevella Moore.