They will lead hundreds of adults and children, representing civic, political, business, school, social and fraternity organizations, through the streets of the city of Stone Mountain in the annual parade, which is in its 10th year. Participants will march, dance and strut to celebrate the life and legacy of the civil rights icon.
The parade will take off from the MARTA parking lot on Fourth Street. Parade organizer Sarah Copelin-Wood says marchers should gather at 11:30 a.m. for the parade, which begins at 12:30 p.m.
Marching bands from Cedar Grove, Clarkston, Martin Luther King Jr., McNair and Stone Mountain high schools will participate. The Cedar Grove High ROTC will carry the parade banner and present the colors at the rally after the parade.
The annual parade celebrates the life of the late civil rights leader. Copelin-Wood, who is also the DeKalb District 3 School Board member, said participants are encouraged to carry banners celebrating King’s legacy.
King, a Baptist pastor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is the most well-known leader of African-Americans’ struggle for civil rights in the 1960s. He would have been 83 years old on Jan. 15.
King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., at the age of 39. He was in Memphis to support a march of sanitation workers who were protesting unequal wages and working conditions.
Today, 50 states and 100 countries worldwide celebrate his birthday.
The NAACP marches in Stone Mountain because in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, King said: “Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!”
The rally begins immediately following the parade in the Champion Middle School gym, 5265 Mimosa Drive in Stone Mountain.
Copelin-Wood says volunteers and paraders are needed. She said there is no registration for paraders. They just need to show up at 11:30 a.m. and get in the queue.
For the first time this year, the parade has an expense. Copelin-Wood said the city of Stone Mountain charged the NAACP $469 to cover overtime for officers working the parade.
To volunteer or donate to help defray parade expenses, e-mail Copelin-Wood at email@example.com or call 404-371-1490.