Houston Honors Dr. Martin Luther King With Two Parades

Houstonians honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, JR with two parades. Thousands lined the streets around Minute Maid Park downtown for the original celebration marking the birthday of the civil rights leader.

A long standing feud between two groups over how the best to celebrate Dr. King resulted in the two parades.

The Black Heritage Society’s 35th annual “Original” MLK Birthday Parade began in front of Minute Maid Park downtown, and was quickly filled with thousands waiting to see marching bands, beauty queens and dignitaries. Parade participants were busy practicing their routines. Robbie Gill with KIPP Academy says students of the college prep school were excited about being the first to kick off the festivities:

“We’re pretty grateful and just humbled by getting this opportunity to lead off the parade. Our kids are really excited, they worked really hard and they just love getting out and just  love getting out, and just the attachment to MLK.”

The parade began a few minutes late, but kids like that didn’t bother Kelly Dowe, who brought his two daughters. He says he tells me he didn’t need to remind them of the day.

“They say ‘Okay today is the day!’ So, they’re big Martin Luther King Day parade fans.”

Hernandez: “What does today mean to you?”

Kelly Dowe’s daughter: ” Well, it’s the day of Martin Luther King’s birthday, which is the man who helped everybody work together.”

The parade featured unique floats and fancy cars, restored or customized, that were in between marching bands. Parade goers like Asharia and her brother were glad to be witness to the observance of Dr. King:

Hernandez: “What does today mean to you?”

Asharia: “Uh, to celebrate Martin Luther King.”

Hernandez: “And who was Martin Luther King?”

Asharia: “Oooh Lord.”

Asharia’s brother: “My name is Kingwood Johnson. He was a peace leader.”

The second parade was The 19th Annual MLK Grande Parade, which kicked off in Midtown.

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