Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. when he was shot and killed on April 4, 1968. More than 40 years later, his ideas and dreams continue.
Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act in 1994, designating the King Holiday as a national day of volunteer service. The holiday is observed on the third Monday of January in remembrance of his birth, Jan. 15, 1929.
This year, several local events mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18. One of the biggest national events takes place in St. Petersburg with the 24th annual National MLK Drum Major for Justice Parade.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday & Legacy Association hosted its 25th anniversary Parade & Battle of the Bands Drum Major for Justice Awards on King’s birthday, Jan. 15, at the St. Petersburg Hilton Bayfront.
Honorees included Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, St. Petersburg Mayor William Foster, The Rev. Robert Ward, pastor of the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church and present of FAST; and the Rev. Louis Murphy, pastor of Mt. Zion Progressive Baptist Church.
Awards are given to people the association believe have made “a direct impact through years of service and dedication to the community in fighting to “keep the dream and legacy” of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alive, Sevell C. Brown III, president of the MLK Holiday and Legacy Association, said in a press release.
Monday’s big event is the 24th annual National MLK Drum Major for Justice Parade, 11 a.m., in downtown St. Petersburg. The parade begins at Third Avenue and ends at Vinoy Park. For more information, visit www.mlknationalparade.org.
The city of Largo sponsored the seventh annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Good Deeds in Ulmer Park on Saturday, Jan. 16. The event included a volunteer fair, free barbecue lunch, performers and more.
The Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater hosted an Interfaith Concert, featuring Fred Johnson, jazz musician and percussionist; Jim Scott, folk singer and activist; and many other Tampa Bay artists on Jan. 15.
The city of Dunedin is celebrating diversity throughout the week of Jan. 16 and sponsored a number of events over the weekend. Future events include:
- Monday, Jan. 18, MLK Play Day at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center. Children ages 5 to 12 can enjoy a free play day from 9 a.m. to noon and learn the history of Dr. King.
- Tuesday, Jan. 19, A Night of Understanding, 7 p.m., Hale Activity Center Sunshine Room, 330 Douglas Ave. Listen to a variety of poems, stories and antidotes,
- Wednesday, Jan. 20, presentation, The People of Panama, presented by Gerry De Tore of the Panama Canal Museum, 7 p.m., Dunedin Public Library, Community Room B, 223 Douglas Ave.
- Friday, Jan. 22, Chinese New Year celebration, 6 to 9 p.m., in Pioneer Park. Presented by the Suncoast Association of Chinese-Americans, the event will include traditional Chinese folk dances, songs, martial arts exhibits, Chinese musical instrument demonstration and a Chinese traditional fashion show. The evening ends with the Dragon Dancers.
For more information about Dr. King and the Day of Good Deeds, visit www.mlkday.gov.