The MLK Federal Holiday Parade, honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is set for 11 a.m. Monday, January 21. Dr. Nancy McGinley, Superintendent of Charleston County School District is the parade marshal. The MLK Parade is the largest single event of the 41st Annual MLK Celebration sponsored by the City of Charleston and the YWCA Greater Charleston. “More than 15,000 persons are expected to line the streets of Charleston for this exciting event,” said Kathleen Rodgers, YWCA Executive Director. The parade features 150 parade units, five marching bands and a host of civic leaders, churches, organizations and businesses.
Beginning at Burke High School, 244 President Street, the parade will proceed east on Fishburne St. to Ashley Ave.; north on Ashley Ave. to Sumter St.; east on Sumter to King St.; south on King St. to Marion Square downtown. After the parade, a “Youth Speak Out” including current events discussions and snacks for area youths will be held at 12:30 p.m. at the YWCA 106 Coming Street, Charleston, co-sponsored by Jack & Jill of America Inc. Charleston Chapter and the YWCA. The youth speak-out is free and open to the public.
High school marching bands in the parade will include Burke, Stall, C.E Murray, Garrett and Military Magnet Academy. “Marching bands in the MLK Parade always bring to mind Dr. King’s quote ‘Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice…’” said parade organizer Herman Allen. Allen has led the MLK Parade planning effort for the last 14 years.
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. traditionally walks ahead of the parade’s impressive line-up of civic leaders which this year will include: Rep. Wendell Gailliard; Charleston City Council and Police Chief Gregory Mullins. Some of the police and fire mobile units in the parade will come from North Charleston, Charleston County, Summerville and Hanahan.
A growing number of corporations will be participating in the MLK Parade this year, such as: The Charleston Chronicle, Boeing, Berkley Electric, MUSC and the College of Charleston. WCBD – DT2 cable will live-broadcast the parade.
Dr. King was born January 15, 1929 and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.Congress established Dr. King’s birth date an official holiday in 1983; however it was not observed in all fifty states until 2000.
For information call the YWCA at 843-722-1644 or visit www.ywca-charlestonsc.org