At 84 years old, Adam Folder Jr. doesn’t get around like he used to. However, his family says, that doesn’t keep from attending every local Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade he can.
“He has to be there. He never misses a Martin Luther King parade,” said one of his grandchildren, Virginia Priester.
However, none of those will top this year’s MLK parade in Springfield. Folder will be the grand marshal for Monday’s parade, which will begin at 10 a.m. on Laurel Street.
“This will be the best one,” Folder said.
Folder will see many familiar faces as he rides along the parade route. He was born and educated in Effingham County and he calls Clyo home. Folder attends St. Matthew Baptist Church in Springfield, where he serves as a deacon.
A U.S. Army veteran who served during the Korean War, Folder retired from Georgia-Pacific after 35 years. He has four children — Dolly Harris, Devra Hay, Glen Folder and Marilyn McCarr — and a family tree full of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
With so many friends and family members planning to be at Monday’s parade, Folder said with a smile that he is looking forward to it “100 percent.”
Many of the people who will line the streets to watch Monday’s parade are too young to have experienced the discrimination that Folder once did. He recalled having tattered books that were missing pages in his segregation-era school, and working in a plant that had separate drinking fountains for white and black employees.
“The old ones understand, but most of the younger people don’t,” he said. “Way back when, it was different. You couldn’t have land. You couldn’t have this, couldn’t have that.”
However, he said, great strides were made during the Civil Rights Movement, led by Dr. King. He hopes people of all ages will appreciate what King accomplished through his message of accomplishing peace and togetherness through non-violence.
“We’ve made progress,” Folder said. “Now, it’s different. Now, everybody works together.”
Martin Luther King Jr. Day schedule of events
• 7:30 a.m. - Annual observance day breakfast, county administrative complex
• 10 a.m. - Parade, Laurel Street, Springfield
• 12 noon - Youth program, Effingham County Recreation Department gym, Springfield
• 6 p.m. - Evening service, Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Association Center, Guyton