Re-enactment march held Saturday
Published 12:33 pm Wednesday, August 17, 2016
More than 300 people participated in Saturday’s re-enactment march to commemorate the historic Voting Rights March of 1965 to the Lunenburg Courthouse.
On the day when the National Weather Service warned temperatures could feel like 105 degrees, participants — ranging from children in strollers to retirees — made the approximately 4-mile trek from Victoria’s First Baptist Church to the Lunenburg County Courthouse, and then to nearby Tussekiah Baptist Church.
The crowd size was about the same as the original march, organizers said.
At the courthouse, Del. Tommy Wright Jr. and Del. Roslyn Tyler, both of whom represent portions of the county in the Virginia House of Delegates, presented a resolution to Ellen Hawthorne Wright and Nathaniel Hawthorne Jr. honoring their father
Shortly after, at Tussekiah, Nan Orrock — who participated in Lunenburg County’s civil rights struggle in the 1960s and is now a Georgia state senator — primed the pump for a voter registration drive by outlining the history of the area’s civil rights struggle and the continued need to vote.
“Are the stakes high?” she asked rhetorically. “Never been higher. We’ve got to wake people up and connect the dots.
Policy is a monster, and policy gets set by the people who are elected.”
Following the activities, participants returned to Central High School for lunch.
On Aug. 3, 1965, about 300 demonstrators — many children — marched to the courthouse. The march was in support of the impending passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act — which was signed into law on August 6 — and to protest the existence of the Poll Tax, according to the county’s website. The march was also intended to protest inadequate voter registration hours, but on July 31, just days earlier, the county’s electoral board decided to grant adequate hours for voter registration.
In turn, grateful demonstrators used the march to express appreciation to the board for its decision.
As did the reenactment, the original march began at First Baptist and continued to the courthouse where the marchers lined the streets for a short time before continuing to Tussekiah to end the demonstration with song and prayer.