DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More than 100,000 people lined the streets of Dallas today. People came downtown to honor the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.READ MORE: Texas Secretary Of State Says Some Counties Still Had Old Application For Mail-In Ballots On Their Websites
But, the festivities this year are different. For the past 30 years the City of Dallas held its MLK Day Parade on Saturday and a community leader organized separate event for Monday, which in time overshadowed the Saturday event. The parades have now been combined into one event.
William “Bill” Blair Jr. – the founder of the Elite News newspaper – always thought the parade belonged on Monday, so he started his own and helped grow it into one of the largest MLK parades in the country.
Some community activists have raised concerns with the city’s move to combine the parades. But organizers of the city-backed event say having one event makes fiscal sense and helps unify the community. Winsor Barbee said, “It helps everybody focus all their energy on one day. The high schools don’t have to just go — eenie, meenie, miney, mo — it cuts out all of that. Because over the years, as the parade has grown on Monday, you’ve seen a decline in the Saturday numbers. People were basically kind of making a choice.”
A lot of people along the parade route had attended both of the previous parades, but said they like hte unity this one brings.
Dallas resident Dianna Thompson said, “I think it’s great. I think the City of Dallas should come together as one city and celebrate. So hopefully it works out for the best.” The sentiment was the same with visitor Ronnie Atkins, “We just get one day and celebrate it. Perfect.”READ MORE: Texas Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne Introduces Resolution Recognizing Heroes Of Synagogue Hostage Situation
Reflecting on the hopes and dreams of Dr. King, Dallas resident Janice Jones said, ‘That’s what it’s all about, coming together. T hat’s what his legacy is — to come together as one. I’m pleased.”
The first-ever combined event began at 10 a.m. on the corner of Holmes Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Street closures and traffic detours are expected to affected drivers until about 2 p.m.
Since much bigger crowds were expected for the combined event, barricades were in place and extra security is on hand.
This year’s parade grand marshal will be radio host Tom Joyner. Among those marching will be elected officials, community groups and churches. There will also be a number of floats and school bands playing.
The MLK parade will end at Fair Park with a celebration, including appearances by actress Tasha Smith and actor Lamman Rucker. Miss Black USA, Madison Gibbs, will also be at the celebration that will also include live entertainment, health information and screenings and college and career fairs.
The celebration at Fair Park will be from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Has Taken Toll On Mental Health, Experts Say
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