MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 18, 2014

Year’s MLK parade comes during NAACP centennial

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. parade will honor a century of community service as well as the civil rights leader’s legacy, officials say.

“This year marks the 100th year of the NAACP,” said Derrick Reed, the president of Muskogee’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Reed said the parade’s four grand marshals have shown dedication to the local chapter over the past 20 years. They are retired Muskogee Public Schools teacher Cedric Johnson, former NAACP Vice President Betty Baucom McConnell, retired educator Herman Barrett and retired nurse Barbara Barrett, he said.

The parade begins at noon Monday and will follow Martin Luther King Street from 12th Street to Third Street.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Living the Dream, Dreaming With a Vision, Live With a Purpose.”

Reed said the theme reflects the dream Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about more than 50 years ago. In his 1963 speech, King said he had a dream “that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls” and that the nation “will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.”

“Here in Muskogee, we are living that dream,” Reed said.

The theme also reflects the dream for a new building for Muskogee’s Martin Luther King Center, Reed said.

The parade also will feature marching bands from Langston University and Muskogee High School, Reed said.

He said entries will be accepted at the MLK Center until the start of the parade, which begins lining up at 11 a.m. Monday.

“We hope to have as many entries as last year; we had close to 60 entries,” Reed said.

A variety of vintage and custom cars will be featured in the parade and at a post-parade car show at the MLK Center.

The Rev. Lester Beasley, who is coordinating the car show, said the show has been growing over the past four years. Trophies will be presented for first, second and third place and best in show, he said. Judging will take about an hour, he said.

The day’s festivities also include a pancake breakfast from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Monday at the MLK Center, Reed said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

If you go

WHAT: Martin Luther King Jr. pancake breakfast.

WHEN: 8 to 10:30 a.m. Monday.

WHERE: Martin Luther King Center, 627 S. Third St.

COST: $5 donation.

•  •  •

WHAT: Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Car Show.

WHEN: Noon Monday. The parade begins lining up at 11 a.m.

WHERE: Martin Luther King Street from 12th to Third streets. Cars will be shown after the parade at the Martin Luther King Center.