, Muskogee, OK

January 21, 2013

VIDEO: Parade viewers celebrate King

Parents use event as teaching tool for children

Story by Dylan Goforth; Video by Mike Carrels
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Although drowned out a bit by the sounds of classic American muscle cars and Langston University’s marching band, Cherish Sallis made her voice heard.

Cherish, the 6-year-old daughter of Lakeesha Sallis, was one of hundreds of Muskogee residents who attended the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade. She was also one of dozens of children clamoring for candy tossed out of the many cars that drove down Martin Luther King Street.

Sallis said she brought Cherish and Cherish’s sister, Teondra, to the parade for them to learn about Martin Luther King Jr.

“I want to get my girls out here to see this and learn about him and what this day’s about,” she said. “It’s our first time at the parade. We wanted to come and enjoy the celebration.”

Floats and cars, including older model vehicles that delighted children by loudly revving their engines, made their way along the street by the dozens. The parade’s final entrant was the Langston University marching band.

Making its way to the Martin Luther King Center, the band played a handful of songs for bleachers overflowing with people, including Sylvia Swan, one of the parade’s two grand marshals.

“It was a very good turnout today,” Swan said.

Swan, a local volunteer, said she has worked in the community and has seen a positive difference growing in Muskogee.

“I can see improvement in the young people in the community,” she said.

Dr. Jewel Daniels, the other grand marshal, was unable to attend because of illness.

After the band finished, Derrick Reed, a city councilor and the president of the Muskogee chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, spoke briefly to the crowd.

He said the theme for the parade was: “Living the Dream. Dream With a Vision. Live With a Purpose.”

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or