“The time is always right to do what’s right.”
C-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
For over 30 years, there have been two parades commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As we work together to bridge the gap and stand as one united Dallas, it gives me great pleasure to announce that starting January 2016, the City of Dallas is uniting with community organizers to host one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.
Committed to service,
Tiffinni A. Young
About the Parade
The annual Dallas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade will march down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in South Dallas on Monday, January 18 at 10am to begin the Dallas commemorative celebration on the national holiday marked to observe Dr. King's birthday.
The Legacy of the People's Parade
The "People's Parade" was established by the late Dr. William "Bill" Blair Jr., Negro League baseball legend and founder of The Elite News, in 1986. In a collaborative effort with the late Dr. S. M. Wright Sr., president of the Dallas Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and pastor of People's Missionary Baptist Church, the first Elite News Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Parade stepped off on January 20, 1986 with approximately 11 cars, a few ministers and one drum. The parade marched down the entire length of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and ended at Fair Park. After the parade was finished, everyone headed to People's Missionary Baptist Church for a huge celebration. (1986 was also marked the first national observance of the Dr. King birthday holiday.)
Continuing in the Spirit of Dr. Blair
The annual Dallas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade will continue in the spirit of Dr. Blair and the legacy of the "People's Parade" beginning in 2016. The parade will have over 200 entries featuring some of North Texas' top marching bands, floats, churches, community organizations, cartoon characters, elected officials, classic cars and much,much more.
The Parade Continues to Grow
Since 1986 the parade has grown with over 200,000 spectators along the 1.2 mile parade route. The parade is now considered one of the largest Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebrations in the country and stands as the largest African American event in North Texas.
The Celebration After the Parade
The after celebration that started in 1986 by Dr. Blair and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance continues. Following the parade there will be a celebration held at Fair Park with live entertainment, health screenings and information, college & career fair, fashion show, children's activities, vendors, food, fun and more. It will be celebration for the entire family!
Continuing Mr. Blair's Legacy 365
On September 17, 2011, the City of Dallas renamed and dedicated the 900 acre Rochester Park to William Blair Jr. Park as a permanent and visible legacy of Dr. Blair. As a baseball player and enthusiast, Mr. Blair had a dream of teaching the game of baseball to as many children and youth in the community as he could.
Words delivered by William “Bill” Blair Jr. at the dedication:
“…But you see you got a lot of people that are jealous of some things you do. I’m not jealous of no one. The only thing that I’m jealous of is that you do things that you’re supposed to do for people. Like this park. This park is named after me. I’m gonna make sho’ that this park be what it supposed to be. I’m going to teach these kids. I’m gonna get somebody down there to teach them to play baseball. Because if you teach them the fundamentals of life all that comes in. All that comes in. When you do that, then you will be alright...” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr0_XKb9qUs)
Funding by sponsors and individuals underwrites the parade and celebration with proceeds going towards the City of Dallas' William Blair Jr. Park to erect the commemorative statue of Mr. Blair and support to establish a longstanding youth baseball initiative with training camps and teams.