Montevallo celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day, rededicates George Dailey Park

Published 10:04 am Tuesday, January 17, 2023

By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – A ceremony was hosted by the Shelby County NAACP at Montevallo High School to honor the life and civil rights activism of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 16.

The Shelby County NAACP Unit 50 AB has a mission: “To ensure the political, educational social and economic equality of rights to all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.”

Mayor Ricky Nix was present at the ceremony and said that the current Montevallo City Council is the most diverse one in history.

“The city of Montevallo is a very diverse city,” Nix said. “I always like to refer to Montevallo as one of the hidden gems of Shelby County.”

South Eastern Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Dr. Tracey Morant Adams, was the guest speaker of the ceremony. Adams has served Alpha Kappa Alpha for over 35 years.

“It is grand to spend this day with the community of Shelby County and Montevallo,” Adams said. “This community is very dear to our hearts.”

The theme of the ceremonial event was “Why we can’t wait” and served as a call to action for the advancement of civil rights.

“Today is a day of service,” Adams said. “I like to say it is a day on, not a day off. It is an opportunity to gather with the intentions of deepening our commitment to the betterment of mankind through impact service and strategic community outreach. So, I want to thank the Shelby County brand of the NAACP for planning a series of events to commemorate Rev. Dr. King and continuing his legacy of pursuing justice and equity for all.”

“I believe the mission of pursuing justice, fairness and equity has never been more critical than it is today. Our elders used to say that there is no better time to do the right thing than right now.  When we look at some of the greatest leaders of our time, I believe that they all have a few things in common that anchor their values and direct their moral compass forward. So, in preparation for today, I thought of the sense of urgency and conviction that ordered the steps of our heroes who have brought us this far. Some of these heroes still march amongst us today.”

Following the ceremony, a rededication event was held at George Dailey Park. George Dailey was the first African American city council member in Montevallo and is credited for beginning the movement within the city council to be elected by districts.

Montevallo Middle School was formerly called Prentice High School. Prentice High School was Montevallo’s first and only African American High School from 1950-1970, and Dailey served as the last principal of the school.

Nonprofit organization, The Mission Continues, is an association of veterans who serve the community through various projects.

“We will continue to try and make simple, small, effective changes to the park,” Platoon Leader Patrick Johnson said. “We’re not going anywhere. We are just getting started.”

George Dailey Park is now on phase three of renovations. Phase two consisted of taking down the barrier of the central feature of the park to make the park more wheelchair accessible.

“Mr. Dailey served his community honorably,” Johnson said. “What I wanted to do is when people walk through this area, they know who he is, they know his story and they know what legacy he left.”

Members of the Dailey family were present during the rededication ceremony to accept an engraved plaque in his honor. The plaque will be mounted inside the park to tell the story of Dailey.

More information on the Shelby County NAACP can be found on the official Facebook page and more information about The Mission Continues can be found TheMissionContinues.org.