The 2016 MLKing, Jr. Marshals’ Reception Held


L-R: Dr. Davita Harris, Diego Peralels, Ta’Nyua Meimin, Jordan Williams and President Carolyn Blackshear
L-R: Dr. Davita Harris, Diego Peralels, Ta’Nyua Meimin, Jordan Williams and President Carolyn Blackshear

The 2016 M. L. King, Jr. Parade Marshals Reception was held on Sunday, December 13, 2015 at Savannah State University’s King-Frazier Student Center.

The 2016 Parade Marshals are: Rev. Carolyn L. Dowse, a retired Chatham County School Principal, great community and church activist and Mr. Tom Kohler, a nationally known and celebrated author and advocate for persons with disabilities.

Rev. Dr. Carolyn L. Dowse is a lifetime member of St. John Baptist Church “The Mighty Fortress. She is the oldest ordained minister at St. John. During her years at St. John she has functioned in practically every auxiliary in the Church.

She is a retired Elementary School Principal and Consultant.

She received degrees from Savannah State University, New York City, Covington Theological Seminary and attended Princeton Theological Seminary.

Mr. Tom Kohler is a native of Savannah and a 1970 graduate of Jenkins High School. He attended Armstrong State College and graduated from the UGA in 1976.

Tom’s first involvement with someone with a disability was as a volunteer in his Temple Youth Group at Mickve Israel

Temple. This influenced the remainder his school and work life. Tom worked, early in life, as a teacher’s aide, a teacher, a group home

(L-R) Judge Leroy Burke, Tom Kohler, Rev. Dr. Carolyn Dowse, Otis L. Heyward, and Carolyn Blackshear
(L-R) Judge Leroy Burke, Tom Kohler, Rev. Dr. Carolyn Dowse, Otis L. Heyward, and Carolyn Blackshear
houseparent, an administrator at a sheltered workshop, and as part of the first effort to bring people home from the state institutions.

Tom currently works as the coordinator of Chatham Savannah Citizen Advocacy, a job he has held since 1978. Tom is an author (with Ms. Susan Earl) of the award winning book “Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community”.

The 2016 Civil Rights Activist is Mr. Otis L. Heyward, a retired Chief Law Enforcement Narcotics officer, Politician and Civil Rights Activist from the District of Columbia. Mr. Heyward has a long and impressive history with Savannah Branch of the NAACP Youth Council.

Heyward graduated 13th in his class with honors from Alfred E. Beach High School. He was a proud member of the National Honors Society. He is the son of Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Elizabeth Heyward. Our 2013 Theme is: “Dreamers Are Believers and Believers Become Achievers”

Our Theme Winners are: 1st Place Winner – Jordan Williams – Gadsden Elementary – 5th Grade 2nd Place Winner –Diego Perales – Oglethorpe Academy – 6th Grade 3rd Place Winner –TaNyua Meinin – Garrison Performing Arts School – 7th Grade For additional information please call the Association’s office at 912.234.5502 or the president’s office at 912.341.0041.


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