On a cold but sunny Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday morning, hundreds gathered at the St. James AME Church at 44 Hildebrand Street in Asheville for a brief service before setting off on a Peace March to Pack Square Park.
Speakers at the church included Rev. James E. Lee, III, Rev. Brent LaPrince Edwards (pastor of the AME church), Dr. Joseph Fox (chair of the Peace March and Rally committee) and Oralene Simmons (founder of Asheville’s MLK Association).
Escorted by the Asheville Police Department and led by a coalition of ministers, the marchers sang traditional songs of the civil rights movement on the short walk to Pack Square Park. Speakers at the Peace Rally included Phyllis Utley (diversity recruiter for AB Tech), Philip Cooper (recipient of the ASCORE award given by UNC Asheville Center for Diversity Education and a staff member at AB Tech) and Manteo Mitchell (indoor track athlete, U.S. Olympic silver medalist and world indoor champion).
All photos by Virginia Daffron