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Annual MLK Day Parade Draws Hundreds
1/18/2017 5:16:49 PM

Staff Reports - Hundreds filled the streets of Downtown Charleston Monday for a high-spirited celebration to honor the life of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the national holiday commemorating his birthday. The parade highlighted the 45th installment of YWCA of Greater Charleston’s annual celebration dating back to 1972.

Hundreds of floats, flashy cars, bands, and civic organizations assembled at Burke High School and ascended upon Charleston residents as they marched through the streets making their way to Marion Square at the end of the parade. The crowds that lined the streets cheered on the entertainment as they passed by.

“I’m so happy to see all the youth out here today honoring the life of Dr. King,” said Justine Henderson who attends the parade every year. “It’s good to see everyone together with their families having a good time with all the foolishness that is going on in our country.”

Another attendee, Nathaniel James, wished King was still here to witness the event. “I think Martin would smile if he saw how much people still honor him and celebrate his life after all this time. Hopefully he would be proud.”

Christine O. Jackson, former and longtime director of the YWCA Greater Charleston and first-cousin of Dr. Coretta Scott-King, seemed to enjoy the festivities as she rode down King Street in the comforts of a signature Lincoln Towncar. She rolled down her window and smiled as children waved at her yelling “Happy MLK Day Ms. Jackson!”

The largest Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute in South Carolina was highlighted by the Annual MLK Parade & Youth Speakout, MLK Business & Professional Breakfast & Youth Forum, the Racial Equity Institute and the MLK Ecumenical Service at Morris Street Baptist Church.

Several local politicians and leaders participated in the parade including City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, City Councilmen Robert Mitchell and James Lewis, SC House Rep. Wendell Gilliard, National Action Network SC President Elder Johnson, School Board Member Michael Miller and The Coalition Founder Pastor Thomas Dixon, amongst others.

NJROTC colorguard marches down King Street during parade. All parade photos by Tolbert Smalls, Jr.

A Burke High School Band Drum Major busting a move for the crowd

Arabian Temple 139 Shrine club members strutting their stuff as they march down King Street

The Young Visionaries play smooth sounds for the crowd

Miss Burke Isleigh Anderson &?Mr. Burke D’Angelo Dukes

The South Carolina Progressive Network waves to onlookers during the parade

Burke High School Band

ROTC members marching during the parade

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