HANNIBAL | More than 100 people gathered for a Black Lives Matter Social Justice March in Hannibal's Central Park at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 27.
As they filled one block of Broadway heading toward Main Street, they carried posters and were chanting “no justice, no peace.”
Later some chanted, “This is what community looks like. … This is what democracy looks like. … This is what diversity looks like.”
The march continued on North Main Street to North Street, where it concluded. The people then returned to Central Park on sidewalks.
Tayla Mayfield, the main organizer, did not want to take credit for its success. “I think it was a collaborative effort, not just me,” she said.
Mayfield was pleased that so many people participated. She later said she has no problem with local people. “My issues are with racism in general.”
Prior to the march, the crowd seated in Central Park heard from the Rev. Jasmine Thompson, who comes from her home in St. Louis to serve as pastor of the Allen Chapel AME Church at 101 S. Hawkins St. in Hannibal.
After leading in prayer, Thompson said, “The march gives purpose to why we are all gathered here, that Black lives do matter. We have to get on one accord with the police, or we won't be able to effectively communicate.
“When there is a threat to justice anywhere, there is a threat everywhere.” She read George Floyd's final words during the last eight minutes of his life, before he was killed May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis.
Thompson said “a unified front is needed, and until there is justice we will not stop,” adding that in the 1970s her grandparents fought alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.
Thompson earlier explained she has previously participated in marches, including in Ferguson, Mo., after the Aug. 8, 2014, death of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed although he was not armed. “It was down the street from my home,” she said.
“I take part in peaceful marches, like today. I'm definitely a protestor.”
Mayfield also spoke to the crowd before the march. “I think awareness is great,” she said. “This is an opportunity we have to find out how we can change our education system. I am glad to have educators here. … We need to make changes in our education system and social services system. There should be some cultural awareness.”
Mayfield had earlier explained the need for social services became apparent to her as a college student, when her parents, Marsha and Eddie Mayfield, cared for foster care children. “I knew there was a need.”
Later she expressed hope that the local education system will change, because “the system we have right now is partial. We miss so many things. There is so much history that is whitewashed.”
Mayfield participated in a Black Lives Matter march in St. Louis a month ago.
She told the people to contact her if they want to be part of the Juneteenth float in Hannibal's Fourth of July parade.
She also announced Kelly Stroud of Hannibal is founding a Facebook book club, The Unity Factor, which will feature African-American authors. The first book will be “The New Jim Crow,” by Michelle Alexander. “Details are forthcoming,” Mayfield said. To become involved in this book club, she or Stroud may be contacted.
See a photo gallery for more pictures of the march.