Georgetown comes alive with Medgar Evers parade, festival

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The annual Medgar Wiley Evers parade was held June 10, 2023, beginning at Freedom Corner and continuing on MLK Dr. to the Mary C. Jones Community Center where the Evers family was treated to lunch and a conversation on the importance of celebrating their lineage. The highlight of the program was a mutual exchange of admiration between Councilman Kenneth I. Stokes, coordinator of the annual parade, and attorney/philanthropist Dennis Sweet when they surprised each other with an award for exemplary community service. Sweet’s wife, Kimberly, was tasked by both honorees to keep the presentation under wraps. The smile on their faces is proof positive mission accomplished! Also receiving awards were Jackson firefighter Eddie James and LaRita Cooper-Stokes (posthumously) for their dedication to preserving the Evers legacy. (Advocate photos)

The Mary C. Jones Community Center, located at 2050 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Jackson, MS, hosted the 20th Annual Georgetown Festival on Saturday, June 10, 2023. The festival, spearheaded by Landon Stokes, coincided with the annual Medgar Evers parade coordinated by Councilman Kenneth I. Stokes.

Georgetown borders the Shady Oaks neighborhood and the Medgar Wiley Evers Historic District, in addition to encompassing the Jackson Medical Mall. Downtown Jackson is a short distance away, and other landmarks of the city are in close proximity as well. 

The Georgetown Community is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the capital city, located in the center of the City of Jackson. Its residents have contributed in many ways to the overall growth and development of Jackson. 

For more than 50 years, young people living in the area attended Mary C. Jones Elementary School and Mary Johnson Elementary School before moving on to receive more education in the historic W.H. Lanier High School at 833 West Maple Street. 

W.H. Lanier High School was established in 1925 as a junior-senior high school. In 1954, it made a major shift by relocating from its 136 E. Ash Street to 833 W. Maple Street, as well as dropping both seven and eighth grade curriculums. However, with the recent closure of Brinkley Middle School, Lanier will once again be a middle and high school campus.

Since its inception, W.H. Lanier High School has served as an educational foundation for many students having gone on to distinguish themselves in diverse disciplines, stellar careers, and profitable professions. In addition to fulfilling its educational mission, W.H. Lanier High School has served as the inspirational center of the Georgetown Neighborhood Community. For many of the citizens in the area, W.H. Lanier High School is a source of pride and a symbol of hope. 

The 833 Nation sponsors the Georgetown Festival to promote the goals and mission of the entire neighborhood. The festival committee has as its main objectives to: 

1. Promote the positive interaction of Georgetown Community residents;

2. Increase citizen involvement in community development;

3. Create programs and strategic plans to encourage and support area youth; and

4. Increase educational awareness and promote students to go to school. 

The historic Georgetown Festival began at 12 Noon and concluded at 7:00 p.m. with 833 Nation partying as “1 Nation Under A Grove” with a star-studded line up of soul, blues, and gospel entertainers;  award-winning drill teams; and DJ Randy “Wildman” Brown serenading the crowd between acts.

On hand to perform were:  Robert “The Duke” Tillman, Dave Mack, Andre Lee, Larry Milton, Greg Pippin & Smooth Funk Band, Pleshette Harris, Charles & Company, Mary Echols, Rev. Joe A. Washington & the Gabriel Tones, John Taylor Jr., STR8UP, Mister Mister, Li Walter & Ban-tu Drummers, along with the award-winning drill teams “Purple Diamonds and “Pretty in Pink” from Yazoo City.

This year, the Lanier High School 833 Nation was in full force presenting the Georgetown Neighborhood Awards to several alumni that included:

• Maggie Benson White, Lanier High School Class of 1971 (833 Nation Alumni Award) 

• Lanier Class of 1973 (833 Nation Class of the Year Award)

• Tim Naylor, owner of Pro Tires & Wheels, Lanier High School Class of 1985 (833 Nation Good to the Hood Award)

• Andre Lee (833 Nation Legendary Cadillac George Harris Music Award)

There also were event activities for everyone with special musical entertainment and Kids’ Zone, space jump, obstacle course, swings, jungle gyms, and super slides.

The Georgetown Festival is a celebration of this community – past, present, and future. 

As usual, the Georgetown Festival was free and open to the public with food and merchandise vendors available to serve all festivalgoers and security was provided.

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Georgetown comes alive with Medgar Evers parade, festival

By Brinda Fuller Willis
June 19, 2023