A diverse crowd numbering in the thousands marched from the St. James AME Church at 44 Hildebrand St. in Asheville to Pack Square Park to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy on Monday, Jan. 16. Many carried signs expressing love for King and his message of social justice.
Rev. Brent Edwards led the service at his church before marchers set off. Oralene Simmons, the founder of Asheville’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association, urged rally attendees to embrace unity and peaceful action.
Those who attended last year’s march remarked on the noticeably larger turnout this year. Escorted by the Asheville Police Department, the crowd of marchers held hands and sang as they walked along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and College Street.
The event speakers emphasized that racial discrimination is not yet eradicated. As a community, they said, we must come to together to end not only racial discrimination but inequities of all kinds.
All photos by Emma Grace Moon.
The crowd bowed their heads in prayer.
Rev. Brent Edwards played the tambourine while the crowd joined in song.
Oralene Simmons spoke at the AME Church, encouraging the crowd to come together and march.
Crowds gathered in front of AME Church before the march.
Young marchers prepared for the walk to Pack Square Park.
Rev. Brent Edwards led the crowd in song as they made their way down to Pack Square Park.
A group of Christ School students with matching “MLK” shirts marched together.
The large crowd filled the street as they made their way from the AME Church to Pack Square Park.
Young crowd members came together.
People came together to dance as music was played in Pack Square Park.
Thanks for reading through to the end…
We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.
We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.
The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.