Thousands celebrate MLK Jr. Day at parade in downtown Wilmington


DOWNTOWN WILMINGTON (WWAY) — Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time for reflection and remembrance of Dr. King’s legacy.

Crowds gathered on the streets for the annual parade. Although we still have a long way to go, people say the sacrifices King made 65 years ago have gotten our nation to the point we are at now.

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Participant Onya Gardner says this may be “just” another holiday for some, but for others she says it is more than that.

“We consider this a day on instead of a day off,” Gardner said.

Many may know of Dr. King for his famous “I Have a Dream Speech.”

He also served as the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and started a series of sit-ins and marches. King was also a reverend.

Resident Jeremy Seamon says King’s faith was one of the main focal points of change.

“Some of his awesome speeches were also very much based in some of his great sermons, and the themes such as love your neighbor,” Seamon said. “Some of the things that he taught were such an important thing that really people needed to hear at that time.”

King also preached about non-violence. Resident Barbara Graham says she still believes there is work to be done before his dream is completely fulfilled.

“I haven’t forgotten the dream,” Graham said. “Martin Luther King died for equality, and we’re still in a state of mind where we don’t always think about the dream, but the dreamer died, the dream still lives.”

This year the parade route made its way up the new Major General Joseph McNeil Commemorative Way, a portion of N. 3rd dedicated in honor of the Civil Rights leader.

McNeil sat in at a segregated Woolworth’s Lunch counter in 1960 with three other college students in Greensboro during the movement.