|DeKalb NAACP to mark King Holiday with new parade route|
|Written by Mackenzie N. Morgan|
The DeKalb NAACP’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade will have a new route when the national holiday is observed on Jan. 21, the same day President Barack Obama will be sworn into office for his second term. The annual event is moving from downtown Stone Mountain to the recently-designated Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway (Snapfinger Road in South DeKalb).
Snapfinger Road last year became the first thoroughfare in DeKalb County named for King after State Sen. Ronald Ramsey led the push to honor Atlanta’s native son in DeKalb. New street markers were erected atop the Snapfinger Road signs from South DeKalb to the Henry county line to avoid a battle with businesses and residents who feared a complete name change might harm property values or confuse people who know the street as Snapfinger Road.
DeKalb NAACP leaders say now that DeKalb has a street designated for King, they want to ensure the thoroughfare remains a source of pride for the community.
“The parade will mark the beginning of efforts to make MLK Parkway more than just another street honoring Dr. King,” said Lance Hammonds, DeKalb NAACP’s first vice president. “There are efforts under way to form an advisory committee to work on projects to improve the area. One of the first projects will be to have the entire 5.2 miles adopted by community groups to ensure that the route stays clean.”
The parade will start at Ray of Hope Christian Church, 2778 Snapfinger Road, and end at Martin Luther King Jr. High School, 3991 Snapfinger Road. The lineup begins at 10:30 a.m. and the march begins at 12:30 p.m.. The route is roughly three miles, organizers say.
The Rev. Dr. Samuel Mosteller, president of the Georgia Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Lester Ruffin (HeadKracK), TV One and Hot 107.9 FM personality, will serve as the grand marshals.
Four high school bands will be among the many parade participants: Martin Luther King, Jr., Cedar Grove, McNair and Stone Mountain High School, organizers say. Newcomers are encouraged to bring banners commemorating King’s legacy.
King, a Baptist preacher and Nobel Peace Prize winner, is globally renowned as the leader of the modern Civil Rights movement during the 1960s. Under King’s leadership, millions fought against racial discrimination using principles of nonviolence. King was born Jan. 15, 1929 in Atlanta. He was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN while supporting the sanitation workers’ strike organized to protest unequal wages and working conditions. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was first observed Jan. 20, 1986.