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St. Petersburg honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mark Parker



St. Petersburg honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with its 36th annual celebration and parade Monday. File photo.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, people from across the country gather in celebration and remembrance of the life of the Civil Rights icon who nonviolently protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.

The campaign to adopt a holiday in Dr. King’s honor began in earnest following his assassination in 1968, although it would not become a federal holiday until President Ronald Reagan finally signed it into law in 1983. America officially observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the first time in 1986.

Born in 1929, King’s actual birthday is Jan. 15. However, in keeping with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, the federal holiday is observed on the third Monday of January. While some cities and states resisted recognizing the holiday – South Carolina was the last, adopting it in 2000 – St. Petersburg has officially honored King since the holiday’s inception in 1986.

This year marks the 36th annual celebration for the city, which also boasts the nation’s longest-running MLK Day parade. Here are what some of St. Pete’s leaders are saying in remembrance of King, starting with the city’s recently elected first Black mayor, Ken Welch.

Councilmember Deborah Figgs-Sanders posted a video from the parade, saying it was an honor to be part of the longstanding tradition.

The Carter G. Woodson African American Museum shared a message from Coretta Scott King asking people to celebrate her late husband by committing acts of kindness and service.

State Senator Darryl Rouson said lawmakers should honor King’s legacy by prioritizing the community’s needs.

Congressman Charlie Crist used the holiday to stand up in defense of voting rights.

The Tampa Bay Rays organization said the holiday is about remembering King’s vision and commitment to change society for the better, both today and every day. In a separate post, the team announced the opening of the 2022 Racial Equity Grants.

Reverend J.C. Pritchett of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance shared a powerful quote by King, espousing the need for people to speak up in defense of what is right.

St. Petersburg City Council Chair Gina Driscoll reminded people to lead with light and love.

Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

“You can kill the dreamer,” he once said. “But you can’t kill the dream.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Hazeltine Hugh

    January 17, 2022at4:37 pm

    Just read MLK’s book,
    Why We Can’t Wait
    His letter from a Birmingham Jail is profound.
    In the book he analyzes Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson with great insight.

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