01/04/12 — Mount Olive is preparing for the annual Black History Month Parade

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Mount Olive is preparing for the annual Black History Month Parade

By Kelly Corbett
Published in News on January 4, 2012 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive and surrounding residents will once again end their month-long celebration of Black History Month this year with their third annual Black History Parade.

Planning for the event, which will be held on Feb. 25, is already well under way and parade applications are being accepted through next week.

The original idea for the parade came about in a conversation between a mother and daughter.

Sheila Oates and her daughter, Toreisha Faison, were talking about Black History Month and how many of the celebrations were only short programs held at churches in the area.

"I thought that it's much larger than that -- that it needed to be celebrated as a whole and everyone come together," Ms. Oates said.

She said she enjoys seeing all of the entries in the parade and seeing everyone come together.

"It just brings the community together," Ms. Oates said. "And just to know that we are living in the dream now, that Martin Luther King had. It's just a way of everybody remembering the past."

The parade can also be largely attributed to the late Ora Truzy, a former town commissioner.

"We call her our Rosa Parks," said Vicky Darden, vice president of the Unity Organization, which organizes the parade each year. "She helped us pull this thing off. She fought for us too. She stood tall for us. A lot of people don't know what you have to do behind the scenes."

Line-up for parade entries will begin at 11:30 a.m.

"We're still taking applications," Ms. Darden said. "We're extending the time for them to be in to the second week in January."

Applications are available at LA Barber Styles and DC Kutz in Mount Olive and at the Wayne County Public Library in Goldsboro, and while there is no entry fee, they are asking for donations to help defray the parade's costs, particularly the $1 million in insurance the group is required to have.

In addition to the parade's floats, other attractions include antique cars, motorcycles and bands.

"Each year it gets larger and larger," Ms. Oates said.

More than 8,000 people attended last year.

"Our last year we did it, we had a guy come from Snow Hill in an airplane and it had a "Yes, We Can" [banner]," Ms. Darden said.

She said people called and told her afterwards that they cried when they saw the banner.

"Every year, we try to do something different," she said.

She said this year, she would like to have a car show in the Bobby Denning parking lot at Breazeale Avenue.

The parade will begin at Mount Olive College and continue down Breazeale Avenue, then end at the old Carver Elementary School, and is likely to last two to three hours.

"It's about getting people together," Ms. Darden said. "It's just amazing to see people you haven't seen in years and years. We just want people to come out and enjoy themselves and celebrate the month of February."

A rain date is set for March 3.

For more information, contact Ms. Darden at 658-3961 or Ms. Oates at 635-3376.