Parade Grand Marshal Announced For 44th Annual Selma Railroad Days

Committee names Dr. Mack Sowell as the 2019 Grand Marshal

After much deliberation, the Selma Railroad Days Planning committee has come to a unanimous decision to name Dr. Mack Sowell as this year’s Grand Marshal for the parade.

“Dr. Sowell has been instrumental in Johnston County for a very long time and it is with great pleasure we give recognition to such an outstanding person in our own community.”  Stated committee chair, Billy Roach.  “The committee was unanimous in voting for Dr. Sowell and we couldn’t be happier that he has accepted the honor.”

Mack Junior Sowell is married to the former Mary E. Womack and they are the parents of three adult children; Malcolm Dubois (Marie), Reuben Daniel (Leslie) and Stacey Danette and are the grandparents of seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren;

Dr. Sowell is Pastor of the House of Prayer Inc. in Clayton.  He and First Lady Sowell have been feeding God’s sheep for over 30 years.  He also serves as a volunteer Evangelist at the Johnston County Correctional Unit and has represented the Johnston Correctional Region in the NC Volunteer of the Year Competition.

Mack started school at the age of four, graduated valedictorian at age 16, and was accepted to Shaw University graduating in 1964 with a B.A. Degree in English and a minor in French.  He pursued further studies at N.C. State and N.C. Central University.  He signed his first professional contract on the steps of the then Raleigh Memorial Auditorium to teach at the Richard B. Harrison High School in Selma and remained there for six years, and is still serving the alumni body as adviser.

Mack organized the community in voter registration drives in 1968 and was the first African American City councilman in Johnston County since reconstruction. He was one of the civil rights leaders jailed for picketing for public accommodations for African Americans in the 1960’s.

In 1999, he was presented the” Making a Difference Award” from the law firm of Gary, Williams, Parenti, Finney, Lewis, Watson, and Superando, P.I. of Stuart, Florida.

On February 20, 2000 he was honored as a “Distinguished Alumnus of Shaw University by the National Association For Equal Opportunities in Higher Education and on November 16th, 2000 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree by the Trustees of Shaw University.  On January 23, 2010, Dr. Sowell was inducted into the Raleigh-Wake Alumni Chapter Hall of Fame for his outstanding leadership and commitment to Shaw University.

Upon retiring from Shaw University, after serving for thirty-nine and one half years, he desired to leave a lasting legacy to commemorate his years of service at Shaw.  With contributions from the Shaw faculty, staff, alumni, friends and family the Mack Junior Sowell Endowed Scholarship was established on June 12, 2010.   From 2012 to 2014, he served as President of the Raleigh-Wake Chapter of the National Association of Shaw University and President of the National Alumni Association of Shaw.  He was subsequently elected to the Shaw Board of Trustees.

Selma Railroad Days Festival is held the first weekend in October each year.  The Model Train Display at Historic Union Depot is always a crowd favorite starting at 9am Friday, October 4th and running through 5pm Saturday, October 5th.

The Railroad Days Festival continues Friday night, October 4th, with the Chew Chew Food Truck Rodeo.

Saturday’s Festivities start with the My Kids Club 5K Railroad Run, Mascot race, a parade and features RiverMist Band live on the main stage starting at 12 Noon.  There will also be food trucks, vendors, the Kids Zone and much, much more.