Area residents participate in history at inauguration

January 22, 2013 10:24:10 AM

Jeff Clark - [email protected]


For Columbus resident Kabir Karriem, Monday was all about capturing a moment in history. 


"I was participating in history," said Karriem, who also serves as a councilman in Columbus. "It was about seeing the first African- American president inaugurated into his second term on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 50 years after the 'I Have a Dream' speech and 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation." 


Karriem was one of more than 200 north Mississippi and west Alabama residents who boarded chartered buses Saturday in Columbus and headed to Washington, D.C. where they joined more than one million people at Monday's inauguration of President Barack Obama.  


"It was a daunting task putting the trip together, but it was a very humbling experience," Karriem said. "To take a bus of mostly African-Americans to the inauguration is something I will never forget." 


The Columbus group was on a tight schedule while in the nation's Capitol. Karriem said they woke up at 3 a.m. Monday and traveled into the city where they stood for more than six hours to get a glimpse of history. Although seeing the Rev. Jesse Jackson and actor Jamie Foxx at the MLK Memorial Sunday and hearing James Taylor perform were memorable experiences, Karriem said seeing Mississippi native Myrlie Evers-Williams, wife of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers, was among the highlights of his trip. 


"I was so excited Mississippi was represented in such a huge way at the inauguration," Karriem said. "I was honored to hear Mrs. Evers deliver the invocation. It gave me chills. To know the story of Mrs. Evers and her husband's story and to hear her speak, it was incredible.  


"This was my first time to go to an inauguration -- it was the first time for many of the people on the trip. We had a lot of senior citizens make the trip with us. It was a real spiritual experience for me to participate in this with people who had lived through the times of Dr. King." 


Karriem said the tour buses returned to the campus of Lee Middle School earlier today.