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Charlotte honors history with MLK parade

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  • MLK celebration in uptown Charlotte
  • What's open, closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • MLK HOLIDAY EVENTS

    Sunday

    Charlotte

    •  Levine Museum of the New South: noon-4 p.m. 1 p.m., screening of “The Abolitionists,” 1:30 p.m., story time. 2:15 p.m., music and black Southern history education program. 3 p.m., screening of “Freedom Riders.” 3:30 p.m., story time. Museum is at 200 E. Seventh St. in uptown.

    Concord

    •  Gospel Fest: 3 p.m., Price Memorial AME Zion Church, 192 Spring St. S.W.

    Hickory

    •  Community-Wide Service: 3 p.m., Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church, 3147 12th Ave. S.E. Speaker: Rev. Aaron Johnson, veteran civil rights activist.

    Rock Hill

    •  Winthrop University’s Inspiration of Life: The university hosts a free celebration that will honor King’s life through song and performance, 5 p.m. in Tillman Hall.

    Salisbury

    •  Humanitarian Awards Program: 3 p.m., Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 1920 Shirley Ave.

    Statesville

    •  Community Church Service: 6-7:30 p.m., Clark’s Chapel Baptist Church, 806 Eufola Road.

    Monday

    Charlotte

    •  20th annual MLK Holiday Prayer Breakfast, Crown Ball Room of Charlotte Convention Center. Doors open at 7:30 a.m., program begins at 8 a.m. Guest speaker: Hill Harper, actor and author. Ticket information: http://ez-tixx.com/mlk

    •  Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center MLK Celebration, noon, at St. John Baptist Church, Hawthorne Lane. Worship leaders: Rabbi Judith Schindler, Rev. Dennis Foust, Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown.

    •  Levine Museum of the New South: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. activities. Includes film screenings at 10 a.m., noon and 3:30 p.m. Live performances at 11 a.m., 12:30, 1 and 3 p.m. Story time at 10:45 a.m., 12:45 and 2:45 p.m. Museum is at 200 E. Seventh Street.

    •  CPCC Day of Service: Between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., teams of students are challenged to complete community service projects for Charlotte-area relief agencies. Students must use their ingenuity to solve and complete the projects.

    •  Harvey B. Gantt Center: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., day of discussions, performances, arts and crafts. Highlights include student roundtable discussion, 10 a.m.-noon; screening of “The Fade,” followed by discussion, 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.; Facilitated student discussion, followed by student performance, 2:30-4 p.m. Free admission.

    Concord

    •  Wreath-laying ceremony: Noon, MLK Memorial Plaza, Cabarrus Avenue.

    •  Talent celebration: 1-4 p.m., Logan Center.

    Davidson

    •  Davidson College observance: “King Day for Kids,” “Civil Rights Cinema” and lecture “40 Years Later: Now We Can Talk.” Seminar series will include “Racial Framing in Disney Films and Social Media,” “Disingenuous Narratives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Children’s Literature” and “Poetic Reflections of Social Justice.” For times, locations and descriptions of each event: bit.ly/1dow0oM.

    Hickory

    •  MLK Parade: 11 a.m., from Lenoir-Rhyne University to Ridgeview Recreation Center.

    •  Hickory Community Theatre: 2:30 and 7 p.m., performances of “Who Will Sing for Lena?,” the story of Lena May Baker, the only woman electrocuted in Georgia for murdering a white man. 30 Third St. N.W. $5 requested donation.

    Newton

    •  MLK March and Celebration: 11 a.m., from St. Paul United Methodist Church to the old courthouse. Sponsored by NAACP of Catawba County.

    Rock Hill

    •  Winthrop University: Day of service. More than 300 students registered to serve more than 25 community agencies, starting at 9 a.m.

    Salisbury

    •  MLK Jr. Breakfast: 7:30 a.m., J.F. Hurley YMCA, 828 Jake Alexander Blvd.

    •  Memorial Ceremony: 9:30 a.m., Freedom Center at Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church, 306 N. Church St.

    Statesville

    •  MLK Community Breakfast: 6:30 a.m., Statesville Civic Center, 301 S. Center St.

    Tuesday

    Davidson

    •  Davidson College: 11 a.m.-noon, Duke Family Performance Hall, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture featuring Benjamin Jealous, immediate past president of the NAACP. Details: bit.ly/1dow0oM.

    Thursday

    Charlotte

    • Mecklenburg Ministries Observance: 6-8 p.m., Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1000 E. Morehead St. The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela will be honored in a celebration of faith, dance and prose.

    Saturday

    Lancaster, S.C.

    •  Parade and ceremony begin at 11 a.m. downtown.

    Steve Lyttle and Hilary Trenda



As Carolyn Saleem watched Charlotte’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade flow along Tryon Street on Saturday morning she remembered helping organize the first parade held in the city to honor the legendary civil rights leader.

Snow was on the ground that day in 1988 when 65 people took part in an event held in west Charlotte because organizers couldn’t get a permit for uptown, she said

On Saturday, Saleem held a homemade sign that read “Keep the Dream Alive.” On the back was a page from The Charlotte Observer with photos of the first parade, including an image showing the same sign.

Saleem hasn’t missed an MLK parade in Charlotte and was among several thousand people who braved Saturday’s cold to line up along Tryon Street.

“I’m holding the sign to let people know to keep Dr. King’s dream alive,” said Saleem, 65, of Salisbury. “And I’m trying to teach my grandchildren and great-grandchildren not to take anything for granted.”

Despite temperatures in the 30s and a steady breeze, the bundled-up parade-goers cheered with enthusiasm for marching bands, community organizations and step-and-drill units.

They also applauded when they heard excerpts from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” King said from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

Saturday’s annual parade came two days before the observance of the federal holiday for his leadership in the civil rights movement and progression toward racial equality in the United States.

Parade grand marshals were Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., who last year became the first African-American to win in a NASCAR national series race since 1963. Amanda McCoy, the 2013 Miss Black USA, also appeared.

Retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg special education teacher Delphian Marsh called the day “kind of special.”

“It reminds us of the work of Martin Luther King,” said Marsh, 76, a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. “We’re trying to give these young people as much history as we possibly can. I think it’s our duty to let students know about Dr. King’s legacy.”

Many parade-goers brought folding chairs, while others stood by the curb or on sidewalks. Sipping hot beverages, they waved to people they knew in the parade and snapped pictures with cameras and cellphones.

Latanya Moody, 46, of Charlotte expressed her delight at being there by skipping down the sidewalk. For her, the event was an affirmation to “never give up my dream.”

Describing herself as a former drug user, she plans to enter college and become a counselor “so I can help people who are abused physically, mentally and spiritually.”

“We can overcome our past,” she said. “Martin Luther King showed me there was a better way. I no longer have to hide. Now I’m free.”

Carlos Barnette, 28, of Rock Hill came to the parade to honor a historic figure who’d touched his life.

“Dr. King helped me finish my education and go get my associate and bachelor’s degrees,” said Barnette, a financial analyst. “I’m the only one in my immediate family to have a bachelor’s degree. Martin Luther King gave me a dream to want more in life as a young African American male.”

For his wife, Stefanie Barnette, 27, the parade was “a way to come together, black and white people trying to ... build on something positive.”

Ralph Buchanan brought his 11-year-old granddaughter, Samina, to the parade so she “could appreciate someone as great as Martin Luther King.”

“I want her to understand his importance for us and to be about the things Martin Luther King was about,” he said. “I’m planting the seed.”

Nine-year-old Matthew Rubin of Charlotte called King “one of my heroes.”

Coming to the parade with his dad, the third-grader wore a Panthers cap, carried a football and waved at Sir Purr when he passed by on a scooter. But Matthew knew what the parade was all about: celebrating King.

“He changed civil rights,” Matthew said. “And he gave the I have a dream speech.”

Carol Glover found a seat to enjoy the parade with her granddaughter and several nieces and nephews. Even by noon the day hadn’t warmed much, but they gave no thought to going home early.

The MLK parade was important because “it brings back history,” said Glover, 60, of Charlotte.

She felt the experience would help the young people “to see the change our legendary leader started and is still continuing on today.”

On a cold winter day they could learn important lessons “and build on them as they grow older,” Glover said.

DePriest: 704-868-7745
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