Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
The largest crowd in years gathered as one to honor a man whose legacy life and work will never be forgotten.
A vocal crowd of nearly 300 adults and children spent much of Monday morning walking the streets of Orange as part of the annual march in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event, sponsored by the Orange chapter of the NAACP, began at Turret Road and Second Street as participants walked all the way to the Orange County Courthouse while singing songs of inspiration, carrying signs and photos and waving to those who lined the streets in support.
A brief program was held on the steps of the Orange County Courthouse and featured speakers Essie Bellfield, former Mayor of the City of Orange, and Dr. Jackie Mayfield, president of the Orange chapter of the NAACP.
Bellfield has always been an inspirational figure in the community, and she showed why by voicing her concerns and her hopes for those in attendance, especially the youth.
“People need to vote. It’s our right and we need to use it,” Bellfield said to the crowd. “Your grandparents and parents didn’t have the right to vote, but you do. I carry three things with me all of the time, and one of them is a voter registration card. People need to understand how important being able to vote is.”
She also encouraged “young people” to study hard in school and to get a good education because knowledge is power and it can only help build a better community and world.
Dr. Jackie Mayfield also focused his comments on the youth and young adults in attendance on Monday.
He encouraged the young people to seek greatness and learn about their history and heritage.
“Learn about your legacy and know who you are,” Mayfield said. “Make your country great with your culture.”
He also encouraged them to continue to use intellect and words against the war on injustice and to refrain from violent acts in those battles.
“There will always be injustice,” Mayfield added. “But you must be a warrior and fight with your mind, not physically. That should always be the last resort.”