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Despite Calls For Unity, A Second MLK Day Parade Will Take Place In Houston

After Houston’s mayor throws his support behind a single parade on MLK Day, another group plans to move ahead with their event.

Air Force Jr. ROTC cadets
Air Force Jr. ROTC cadets at head of 22nd Annual MLK Grande Parade in 2016.

In an effort to unify Houston’s dueling MLK parades, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Monday that the city is partnering with the Black Heritage Society on an official parade, which will travel through downtown starting at 10 am on January 21.

But despite his announcement, the organizers of the city’s other parade — the MLK Grande Parade – have said theirs will still take place. And they’ve gotten a permit to march at the same time as the city’s official parade, but will travel through Midtown.

“There’s never going to be any one MLK event,” said Charles Stamps, who founded the MLK Grande Parade in the mid-1990s. “It’s going to continue to grow and proliferate throughout the city, the state, and the nation.”

Two of the grand marshals of the MLK Grande Parade are potential mayoral candidates Bill King and Tony Buzbee. But Stamps said their selection wasn’t political.

“Neither gentleman had declared candidacy,” said Stamps. “And even if they did it wouldn’t have made a difference. Our selection is based on contributions to humanity, the contributions that they’ve made to society.”

In response to having two parades, Turner’s spokeswoman said he met with both groups months ago on the issue. She added the mayor wants to create a “positive, city-backed experience” to remember Dr. King’s legacy.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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