Participants were encouraged to choose one of the days over the weekend to walk or drive a predetermined path, according to the Springfield NAACP website.
“To ensure social distancing, participants are being asked to walk only with others who are already in their household or ‘bubble’ and maintain a 6-foot or greater distance from other participants, as they would any time they walk outdoors,” said Alice Barber, Springfield NAACP secretary.
Barber said since the march was held over the course of multiple days, this would limit participants from attending on one day and have them spread out over the weekend.
The virtual aspect of the march is in the hashtag, #MOVINGFORWARDFORMLK, where participants could take selfies of themselves on the predetermined path, as well as in front of Springfield’s historic sites along the African American Heritage Trail.
These sites include Silver Spring Park, Lincoln Hall, Church Square North and South, and Park Central Square.
These landmarks are significant to Springfield’s history, with the African American Heritage Trail providing background on each landmark on their website.
Silver Springs Park was Springfield’s only park open to Black residents during segregation. Lincoln Hall served as the best Black school in the state. Park Central Square was the location of the lynching of Horace. B. Duncan and Fred Coker, where a memorial now stands. Church Square North and South are both home to two historically African-American churches.
These are just a handful of sites along the trail, as Springfield has 20 sites dedicated to the contributions made by those of African descent to the history of the community and are all marked with a descriptive plaque.
The route of this year’s MLK march serves much significance as it is also a teaching moment for those unaware of Springfield’s history and participants were encouraged to visit at least two of the historic sites.
The march also included prizes like t-shirts and gift certificates to Springfield’s local coffee shops, as well as collected donations of warm outerwear for those in need locally.
Follow Britney Huish on Twitter, @brithuish
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