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MLK parade draws crowd

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For Chris Howard and his family, Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. parade was more than just a chance to get out and see the bands, floats and other entrants in the annual parade.
    It was also a chance for him to impress on his children the importance of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    "You have to respect Martin Luther King and what he did for our people, and not just our people, but for all people," Howard said.
    Howard and his family were among hundreds who lined the streets of Statesboro Monday, enjoying an unseasonably warm January day while watching the parade pass by.
    Also there was April Washington and her family, including her 11-year old son, Javonta.
    Javonta Washington said it was important to celebrate the legacy of King.
    "I know that he helped black and white people come together," he said. "He brought everyone together."
    April Washington said she attends the parade every year and hopes her children learn the lessons King sought to teach.
    "It's important for me, and the kids, to know about Martin Luther King and what he did for our country," she said. "I want to try to educate them more and support everyone out here."
    Sharon Hilton was there not only to remember King's impact on American history, but also for another reason.
    "One reason I'm here is to support my daughter, who is in the parade," she said.
    Hilton's daughter is a member of the Langston Chapel Middle School step team, which was one approximately 100 entries in the parade, which included the several churches as well as elected officials from the Statesboro City Council and Bulloch County Commission.
Pearl Brown, president of the Bulloch County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said she thought this year's parade was one of the best ever.
    "We had more participants and more spectators that I think we've ever had," she said. "It's growing more and more each year."
    Brown estimated there were close to 150 entries in this year's parade, up from an average of 100 over past past several years.
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