First parade set for MLK Jr. Day|[1/4/06]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2006

A parade is being added to the annual Martin Luther King Day festivities in Vicksburg.

The annual celebration, this year on Jan. 16, has typically included breakfast and banquet events, but Gertrude Young, former North Ward Alderman, told the audience at the regular meeting of the City Board that a Washington Street parade has been planned.

&#8220Sylvester Walker had a vision of having a Dr. Martin Luther King parade to tie in with the breakfast and the program,” Young said. &#8220He had a vision of the whole day being a celebration of Martin Luther King.”

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Walker, a Vicksburg resident and the designer of an African-American flag, hopes to broaden attendence at events.

The annual breakfast sponsored by the Omicron Rho Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity is usually packed, but an event at Vicksburg Auditorium later in the day has had less attendance. An evening candlight ceremony and the King Memorial on the city street named in his honor has attracted few participants.

&#8220We want everybody, all nationalities, to support the event,” Walker said.

The parade is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will run north on Washington Street, beginning at Belmont Street and ending at Jackson Street.

Walker said the popularity of the Christmas parade led to the creation of the Martin Luther King Day parade, and he said it is something for the whole community.

It came about after &#8220seeing the need to unify the community,” he said.

The Vicksburg Warren School District, Vicksburg Catholic Schools and Porters Chapel Academy are all closed that day as are city, state and federal offices. Mississippi also observes the birthday of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee the same day.

So far about 30 groups including churches and civic organizations have signed up to participate in the parade, Walker said.

&#8220We still need sponsors for the parade, and we have the Alcorn State University band coming to perform, so we need sponsors to feed them, too,” he said.

&#8220We’ll have people out collecting donations, so don’t be afraid to donate,” Walker said.

In other business the board: