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King Day At The Dome 2017 May Have Fewer Participants
1/4/2017 4:33:11 PM

Attendance is expected to decrease during the King Day at the Dome celebration in Columbia
By Barney Blakeney

The annual S.C. NAACP Conference of Branches King Day at the Dome will be in Columbia Jan. 16. While the event that began in 2000 to protest the Confederate Flag flying over the S.C. Statehouse Capitol building has drawn more than 50,000 participants in the past, the number of those attending has decreased over the years.

Last year Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders topped the bill as speakers accounting for a moderate crowd. But those big draw names won’t be among the list of speakers. Local NAACP branches don’t plan any organized attendance.

Charleston Branch NAACP President Dot Scott said there are no plans for the branch to sponsor a trip to the event. The Charleston branch has not sponsored an organized trip to the event since its early beginnings. Scott said individual members however may participate.

“For me everyday is a day to work for dignity, not just King Day. I’m not big on symbolism,” she said.

Veronica Dukes, president of the Goose Creek NAACP Branch said the group will not sponsor a trip to the event as it has in the past. Each year for the past several years the branch has sponsored a bus carrying participants to the event. Like Scott, Dukes said individual members likely will participate however.

The International Longshoremen Association Local 1422 spokesman Leonard Riley said the union’s members likely will sponsor a bus to the event as it has in the past as well. He was uncertain however about the details of their sponsorship.

“There’s a lot going on that weekend,” Riley said. “I know the AFL-CIO is going to be in Washington, D.C. for the national observance and we’ll most likely be there. But we haven’t discussed plans for the Columbia event. We’ll probably sponsor a bus,” he predicted however. For information call the ILA at (843) 720-7360.

The 2017 King Day at the Dome schedule is as follows: Sunday, January 15; Columbia MLK Heritage Program, 4 PM Zion Baptist Church, 801 Washington St. Monday, January 16; Statewide MLK Prayer Service, 8:30 AM Zion Baptist Church March Line-Up, 9:30 AM Zion Baptist Church King Day at the Dome Rally, 10:00 AM at the Statehouse Steps.

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