Well over a thousand people marched, walked, rode and drove in Monday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade in Downtown Fayetteville, which may have been the largest-ever parade the city has ever hosted.
The parade was organized by the Fayette County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
According to event organizers, around 80 organizations entered the parade, and while some may have contributed one vehicle and two or three occupants, other organizations entered several vehicles and over a hundred people each. The parade was staged at Fayette County High School on Tiger Trail, and from there it proceeded east onto Hood Avenue, south onto North Glynn Street (Hwy. 85), west onto West Lanier Avenue (Hwy. 54) and then north onto Tiger Trail again.
Again, organizers said the parade was so big that those leading it reached the starting point just as the tail of the parade was leaving it. Fayetteville Police officials reportedly suggested a longer parade route may be necessary if the annual parade continues to grow like this.
Not only is the MLK Day parade growing in size, but it is also growing in influence. While Whitewater High School’s marching band from southern Fayette County was the only local school group in the parade, there were several U.S. Navy Junior ROTC groups of considerable size in the parade this year, including those from Lithonia High School, Martin Luther King, Jr. High School (Lithonia), Southwest DeKalb High School (Decatur) and Columbia High School (Decatur).
Organizers say they believe this year’s parade took second place only to the much bigger event in Downtown Atlanta. They said more and more regional organizations each year contact the Fayette County NAACP looking to join the parade.
Of course, several local churches also joined in the commemoration of King’s life. Participants included Fellowship of Love Church, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Merrill Chapel United Methodist Church, Holly Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church, Flat Rock African Methodist Episcopal Church and The Olivet Church.