Young Mississippians make trip to Selma

Young Mississippians make trip to Selma
Attendees of last year's trip on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Attendees of last year's trip on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. (Photo source: WLOX News)

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Around 50 students and a few chaperones woke up at the crack of dawn Sunday to make a very special trip.

For the fifth year in a row, the Mr. Debonair Ball contestants and the Moss Point Visionaries are making the trek to Selma, Ala. where they will participate in the 51st annual March on Selma.

"I know that MLK was a part of it and that's about it. I'm really excited to learn more," said 16-year-old Dante Barnes.

The famous march took place on the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery, on what is known as Bloody Sunday. Famous black leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. participated.

The march eventually helped lead to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which enfranchised black voters.

"We know all about MLK and Rosa Parks, but nobody knew about Bloody Sunday and of course last year they made a movie out of it," said Professional Achievers Public Relations Director, Charlotte Brown. "So, it's a big deal but a lot of people didn't know, I didn't know."

The movie Selma was nominated for an Oscar in 2015. Brown says they play it on the bus to help get the kids in the right head-space.

"When you think about walking across a bridge, you're like 'I'm just walking across a bridge', but then you see what actually happened and the actual people that did it and it's powerful," said Brown. "We just want the kids to experience that," said Brown.

The Moss Point Visionaries formed after Katrina to help rebuild the town. When schools were scoring low, they started a mentor program for boys and out of it came the Mr. Debonair Ball. The young men who compete in the ball are rewarded with the free trip.

"I'm just expecting to go learn a lot about our history, because I'm here in the present but I just want to see what got us here today," said Mr. Debonair, D'Waylin Harris.

The city of Selma has been hosting several days of events that began on Thursday. The group will return home Sunday night.

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