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Hundreds gather along parade route to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Hundreds gather along parade route to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 4:20 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - North 3rd Street in downtown Wilmington was lined with hundreds of people excited to see the first MLK day parade in two years Monday,

“I look at him as a great man and he had done a lot of great for this country,” said Kelly Walker, who brought his entire family to watch the parade on Monday. “We’re able to sit down and we’re able to have freedom of speech and we’re able to do things in the community that we couldn’t do before without him.”

Though Martin Luther King Jr. has been gone for nearly 52 years, Wilmington gathered to celebrate the legacy he left behind.

“He spent his life fighting for people like us to have rights, fighting for our civil rights,” said Jasmine Smith, who watched the parade with Walker and other family members. “Changes have been made. We have human rights now. We’re treated as human beings.”

The parade kicked off at 11 a.m. and featured a number of businesses, organizations, and community leaders. What many people were most excited about were the performances.

“I like to see the performers coming out and performing and just dancing and just having a great time, celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. I love it,” said Walker.

Some of the festivities kicked off earlier this weekend across the Cape Fear.

“I liked all the events that led up to this day,” said Tony Bloodworth. “I understand the drumline was pretty good yesterday at the college.”

It’s the first time the parade has happened in two years since last year’s event was canceled due to COVID concerns. Now, people are glad to be back, bringing the whole family to pass on Dr. King’s lessons.

“Just trying to keep his dream alive and let him know that everybody’s one,” said William Wooten, who brought his young nephew to see the parade. “We can get along together no matter what color.”

The parade lasted about an hour and a half with cleanup efforts lasting about half an hour after that.

In the past year or so Wilmington has made efforts to recognize black history more often with events like this and November’s 1898 commemoration.

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