Many organizations threw big bashes in recognition of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The One Coast initiative was in full force today. Every M.L.K. day, one city on the Coast is shut down for a major parade. This year Gulfport played host and people came out in droves. Drums and music and beads and candy! People flocked to Gulfport for the annual parade celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. James Herron, a resident, says, "He always had that dream and I think we have come a long way." Lucretia Peavy, another resident, says, "This is our first time coming. We're retired and we used to work a lot and never had the chance to go." Every year, the parade is in a different coastal city. Last year's festivities were in Biloxi. Not only were people of all ages enjoying the day, but there were also visitors from different schools around the nation, marching in the parade in celebration of the civil rights leader. Charlon Henderson, a Moss Point resident, says, "I've seen Talladega. I’ve seen Chicago. I’ve seen Alcorn State. I've seen dancers. I've seen a drum line from New Orleans. It's been amazing."
With bands from elementary up to the high school level participating, today's parade gives community members the chance to see something outside of their own neighborhood. Joe Nelson, the Principal of Pass Christian Middle School, says, "It's a great opportunity for young kids today to see the universities that are here today for recruitment for them." Nelson is also a member of Omega Psi Phi, a historically black fraternity that marked the day with barbeque for anyone that stopped by, including police officers and inmate trustees, free of charge. After walking a dozen blocks, the annual parade ended at Milner Stadium for the Battle of Bands.