Calvin Whitmire wants to hold a Unity March in Laurens. He told City Council he doesn’t care whether he is in the foreground or the background. He just wants the town to come together, and he wants it to be on Saturday, Nov. 9.
If that seems a bit hasty – and based on the remarks of several councilors, it is – perhaps Whitmire, who heads an organization called Bridging the Gap, is accustomed to setting timetables and putting arrangements in place. He was deferential to Council in his remarks, taking the time to apologize to Marian Miller and Sara Latimore by name for not being as inclusive as he might have been.
Councilor Latimore was absent, but Whitmire said he had spoken to her previously.
He said he wants to bring the entire community together: rich and poor, black and white, men and women.
“I want to bring together people who care about one another and believe in Laurens,” Whitmire said. “If we can get to the kids, we can get to the parents.”
No one on Council was going to come out against unity, of course. Unity polls well most everywhere.
“It’s not a black issue, it’s not a white issue,” Miller said, endorsing the march but expressing the opinion that a community meeting should be held “for all parties” before such a march could be effectively planned.
Music lovers should appreciate the announcement made by Main Street Laurens’ Jonathan Irick. The city-affiliated organization is adding a major springtime event, the Blues & Roots Music Festival, to begin in 2020.
Irick talked about Laurens County’s musical heritage. Rev. Gary Davis (1892-1976), influential blues and gospel singer who was adept on the guitar, banjo and harmonica, was born in Laurens, as was Pinkney “Pink” Anderson (1900-74), the blues singer and guitarist who, Mayor Nathan Senn was quick to point out, partly gave the rock band Pink Floyd its names. The band was named for Anderson and another bluesman, Floyd Council. Arthur Smith (1921-2014), who composed what eventually became known as “Dueling Banjos” and “Guitar Boogie” (which sold over 3 million copies in the 1940s), grew up in the Lydia Mill section of Clinton.
Main Street is seeking grants to help fund the festival. No date has yet been set.
“This is not a traditional festival,” Irick said. “It won’t be like ‘Squealin’ on the Square.’ The focus will be on the music.”
Next year, by the way, will mark the 20th anniversary of the barbecue festival, recently completed.
Tiera Moore of the Laurens County Safe Home spoke to Council on the subject of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which was accompanied by a proclamation from Mayor Senn that passed unanimously.
City Administrator Gary Coleman reported on the appointment of a committee dedicated to erecting appropriate and worthy historical markers in Laurens. The committee, which will write the language to be used on the markers, will hold its first meeting on Nov. 11 and meet afterward o the second Tuesday of each month.
No action was taken after an executive session in which Council discussed “a contractual matter relating to PMPA” and a proposed easement in Hunter Industrial Park.