Amid MLK Jr. Day Celebration, Mayfield Civil Rights Group Is Revived

Jan 22, 2019

Mayfield community members gather in First Lutheran Church to celebrate MLK Jr. Day. Later on in the program, children tore up signs along the pews in a symbolic gesture against hate.
Credit Liam Niemeyer

  Mayfield celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday night at First Lutheran Church with singing, speeches, and the announcement that a defunct, decade-old local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the oldest civil rights organization in America, would be revived in their community.

 

The former president of the chapter, Virginia Langford, announced for the first time they have the needed 50 members to restart after years of effort to bring the group back.

 

75-year-old Judy Tuggle said having a group like the NAACP back in Mayfield puts forth a mission of bringing their community together.

 

“Mainly it means the brotherhood between the races, the recognition that we’re all one human family,” Tuggle said.

 

Langford said the reason why the Mayfield chapter disbanded over a decade ago was because of a lack of interest by young people. But she said she hopes the new effort will put a focus on bringing a new generation of people into the group.

 

Ralph Priddy speaks in front of the crowd.
Credit Liam Niemeyer

  Educating younger people on the history of the civil rights movement is something another community supporter, Ralph Priddy, thinks is something Graves County needs that their revived chapter will offer.

 

“The older generation is getting older, and we need to make sure [younger people] are capable and ready to keep this movement going and to pass love down as they go,” Priddy said.

 

In the past year, Langford, Priddy and others have already organized an Eighth of August Emancipation celebration in Mayfield and hope to organize more community-centered events now that they’ll have an official NAACP chapter.

 

The Mayfield-Graves County chapter would join 38 other NAACP chapters in Kentucky including ones in Paducah, Murray, Madisonville, and Hopkinsville.