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NAACP plans civil rights march

Aug. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- On Aug. 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans from across the country gathered in Washington to rally for civil liberties and rights, as well as economic freedom.

This year, civil rights leaders with the NAACP and other groups plan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that momentous day, on which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream Speech." And the Huntington-Cabell Branch of the NAACP will sponsor a chartered bus to Washington to participate in 50th anniversary events, which includes a rally and march.

The bus, which has 55 seats, is scheduled to leave at 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, and return the following evening on Saturday, Aug. 24. The ride is $80 per person, and the deadline to register is Monday, Aug. 19.

The Aug. 24 event is actually one of two anniversary celebrations planned to mark the 50th anniversary. That march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial will be followed by another march event on Aug. 28.

Sylvia Ridgeway, president of the Huntington-Cabell NAACP, said you don't have to be an NAACP member to get on the bus and attend the Aug. 24 event.

"This is not an NAACP event, but we are one of the more prominent groups involved," said Ridgeway, who also heads up the West Virginia State Conference of Branches for the NAACP. "We decided it would be an exciting time, and the (local branch) wanted to show its support by sponsoring a bus."

There is a schedule of events for the day that begins at 8 a.m. and lasts until about 4 p.m., with programs that focus not only on King, but the Voting Rights Act and the NAACP's support for the Trayvon's Law campaign. The campaign aims to repeal stand-your-ground laws and end racial profiling, among other measures -- all inspired by the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, which the organization believes is a "travesty of justice," said Ridgeway, who recently attended a national NAACP convention.

For more information or to reserve a seat for the bus, call 304-529-4692. Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 1446 Huntington, WV 25716. Seats are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

In related news, Martinsburg will host the West Virginia chapter of the NAACP's annual conference for the first time since 1997.

The 69th annual conference begins Friday and continues through Saturday. The theme of this year's conference is ""We shall not be moved."

Meeting topics will include photo identification legislation and plans to commemorate the historic day of Aug. 28, 1963.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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