Meridian, Miss. The Meridian/Lauderdale County NAACP hosted the 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Breakfast Monday.
Organizers said it was an almost record turnout and growth is expected to continue.
Extra seating had to be brought in for the floor and even balcony at the Boys and Girls Club to accommodate the crowd.
When the breakfast first started 28 years ago, by Rhoena Jennings, there were five people in attendance. An estimated three hundred took part Monday.
NAACP membership chairman, Willie Mae Brown, was one of the five people who attended the first breakfast. She says Mrs. Jennings would be overjoyed by the turnout.
"If there's anything about her spirit she's shouting this morning," said Brown.
"I think that we've probably outgrown this particular venue," said Jennings' son, Randle Jennings, now interim president of the Meridian/Lauderdale County NAACP. "We're probably going to move next year, but at the same time I think that it's time for us to put work into the movement, into what Dr. King was about. It's time to galvanize this many people to go to work into the programs, to galvanize our community, and bring unity to the community."
"We want everybody. It's not a black thing. It's not a white thing. It's a Meridian thing," said guest speaker Kim Houston, who represents Ward 4 on the Meridian City Council. "It's a Dr. King thing; it's a dream. And I think that if we all grab hold to it we can turn this city around."
That's exactly what NAACP officials say they are trying to do by specifically reaching out more to youth. In fact, young people from the group the Queen B's volunteered to serve at the breakfast.
"It's the outreach as far as the NAACP and where we're trying to go," said Jennings. "It's time to go get our youth."
Former Meridian city councilman, Jesse Palmer, also spoke during the breakfast. He's the oldest member of the local NAACP. He told the group that during the civil rights movement, Dr. King made at least five trips to Meridian.