No MLK Parade this year, Organizer says King’s dream not being upheld in Vicksburg

Published 6:38 pm Thursday, January 4, 2018

After returning from a one-year hiatus last year, there will once again be no Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in downtown Vicksburg this year.

The parade was not held in 2016, but returned with a flourish last year with heavyweight boxing champions Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, James Toney and Ray Mercer serving as Grand Marshalls.

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Parade organizer Sylvester Walker said he made the decision to not hold the parade this year because he doesn’t see King’s dream being upheld in Vicksburg and Warren County. 

“I don’t want Dr. King’s dream just to be a dream and what it is turning out to be with all of the things that go on in this city, the crime and no jobs, it is turning out to be a nightmare for our community,” Walker said. “I don’t want to say that, but it is the truth. I don’t want to sit there and parade down the road like everything is fine to the people and it is not.”

Walker said the decision was not made lightly, but he didn’t feel it was right to not hold the parade this year.

“It was very hard, but I thought it was something Dr. King would want me to do to unify and educate the people that we need jobs here,” Walker said. “Crime is going to be here, but jobs are something that could be developed. 

“Our city and county leaders are not bringing any kinds of jobs to the city and the county. I know economically what Dr. King always talked about is that is the only way a city is going to grow and that will help lower all the crime that is behind it. If you don’t have a way of a good living, crime is going to be high.”

The 2017 parade featured the four boxing champions and also included a party at the Farmer’s Market lot at the conclusion of the parade. In 2016, no parade was held due to confusion about who was organizing it, but Walker did help to organize a unity walk in its place.