Biloxi's MLK day parade attracts a record crowd

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A record crowd lined the streets of Biloxi for Monday morning's annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade.

It was a celebration of both Dr. King's dream and Barack Obama's historic accomplishment.

Near perfect parade weather greeted the start of the annual celebration, while an attitude of hope and optimism permeated the crowd along the parade route.

This yearly remembrance of Dr. King's unforgettable dream is made sweeter this year with the hope that is seen in Tuesday's inauguration of Barack Obama as President.

"Oh that's history! Oh that's history! I love it. I love it. I'm enjoying the day very good," said a smiling Annie Stewart, who enjoyed the parade from her lawn chair.

Division Street was anything but divided on this MLK day; this eve of America's first African-American president. They were dancing in the streets, filled with unbridled joy, optimism and hope.

Alan Young was among the many proudly wearing an Obama "Yes We Can" shirt. We asked him what Dr. King might think about the election of Barack Obama.

"I know he would be very, very proud. That's what he lived for, to see the change and we're all brothers and sisters. I'm just happy. I'm just happy," said Young.

That happiness seems contagious during this upbeat celebration. The smiles and waves of children riding in the parade added to the joyful spirit.

It is a time to clang the cymbals and bang the drums. America takes a bold step on Tuesday; a change that 77-year-old Laverne Guys has prayed would come.

"My eyes will be glued to the TV. And some of my family is on their way now, up there. Exciting, Exciting. And an exciting country. I love my country," said Ms. Guys.

They'll be cheering America's new leader on Tuesday just as Monday's parade goers celebrated and remembered the legacy of the man who helped pave the way for that historic moment.