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Jonesborough group gathers to walk for Dr. King

Buffalo soldier Paul Braxton shares stories at the MLK Peace Walk.

By ALLEN RAU

Staff Writer

[email protected]

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the McKinney Center held a “Peace Walk” Monday, Jan. 15, tracing the route late Jonesborough resident Alfred Greenlee walked  each morning and ending at the site of the early 19th-century abolitionist newspaper, The Emancipator.

“What we are doing here today is a service project honoring not only Dr. Martin Luther King, but also the people who bring service to this community,” said Jules Corriere with the McKinney Center. 

The Buffalo Soldier site in Jonesborough was part of the walk on Jan. 15.

A crowd of local residents braved the cold and were treated to a number of stories about Greenlee as well as a tribute to former Buffalo Soldier Alfred Martin Rhea.

Former Jonesborough alderman Adam Dickson began the event by quoting the “Drum Major Instinct” speech by Dr. King.  “In this sermon he reminded all of us of what it really means to lead. It isn’t about being seen, it’s about leading” Dickson said.

One of the stops on the route was the former home of Rhea, where Paul Braxton appeared in the uniform worn by the men in the famed unit.  He then told the crowd about the life of Rhea and the service he provided to his country.

Walk participants decorated a fence on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Other destinations on the trip were The Eureka Inn and the site of The Emancipator, the nation’s first abolitionist newspaper begun in 1820.  The walk ended back at the Depot Street Park where the crowd was invited to participate in a community art project of decorating the park’s fence.  After adorning the fence with colored ribbons, hot coffee and hot chocolate was served to thaw out all the artists.

Jeremy Reeves, a local student, said that he felt “The spirit of Alfred was walking with us.”