Monday’s weather may have rained on the parade, but Saturday was sunny and cool as the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration parade meandered through downtown Statesboro.
The parade route along North Main Street, West Main and Martin Luther King Boulevard featured dignitaries in gleaming cars beauty queens, motorcycle groups, church groups, floats, marching band and even a man riding a lawnmower.
The crowd of onlookers along the sidewalks was not as large as in years past, but hundreds did appear to take in the sights and honor King’s memory.
Some said they had been unaware of the parade being rescheduled from Monday due to weather. Antonio Saunders was visiting a friend when he saw the crowd and asked what was happening. Pleased to learn about the parade, he remained in the area to watch.
His knowledge of King was sparse until recently, when he read about and did research on King and his accomplishments.
“I didn’t know a lot until I read about him,” he said. “His history means a lot to me. Hopefully today, I’ll learn more about him.”
He watched the parade while children scampered about, stopping to admire the colorful floats with mottos such as “One Dream… One Nation” and “United We Stand.”
The celebration is important to the community, said Carol Canty as she awaited the parade’s beginning.
“This means a lot. He (King) did a lot for everybody – not just blacks, whites, green or purple. He served a real purpose. It’s good to see everybody come out and let it be known that he did do something. His life ended the year I was born. He was a really good God-sent man.”
Joseph Roberson, another bystander, agreed.
“He was one of the greatest of leaders,” he said. “He stood for peace and believed in a change for the better. That is great for Georgia and all of America.”
Roberson reflected on what King endured and fought to accomplish. “Think about what he really had to go through when times were different for everybody,” he said. “He wanted to make it better for all America – black, white, everybody – and this parade is a tribute to a great believer.”
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.