MLK Parade this Saturday in Ridgeland
The streets will be filled with floats, cars and paradegoers in Ridgeland Saturday morning to remember the life and accomplishments of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The theme for the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade, presented by the Garden of Light Committee, is “Together we win with love for humanity.”
The parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. in downtown Ridgeland. Lineup is 8:30 a.m at Pratt Library.
“Martin Luther King Jr. has done a lot for all people; he never separated one from another,” Committee chairperson Elizabeth Rhett said.
The parade has been a fixture in Ridgeland for the past 36 years and this year marks the 50th anniversary of King’s death. As of last week, there were 50 entries signed up for the parade and the committee expects there will be more, Rhett said.
“This parade is held as a way to let everyone know what a great man Martin Luther King Jr. was and those who attend the parade can look forward to our floats and all of the entries,” Rhett said. “This is a great way for families to come together and learn about a great man in history.”
Events before the parade included a youth banquet, last weekend. The speaker was Angel Jackson, Miss Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School. A reception will be held Jan. 12 at St. Phillip Baptist Church in Hardeeville from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event will honor First Lady Shirley W. Spencer of Hardeeville.
The grand marshals for this year’s parade are Lee Arthur and Luvenia Youmans of Ridgeland. There will be special recognition of Joe Beaton, Clyde Brantley and Derrick Heyward and the “Unsung Hero” is the late Robert Beaton of Ridgeland.
“We selected the Youmans as grand marshals because they are always working in the community and volunteering with us,” Rhett said. “They are a husband-and-wife team and are true examples of what Martin Luther King Jr. represented.”
Luvenia Youmans works with Beaufort-Jasper EOC Head Start/Early Head Start in Robertville and Lee is retired from UPS. The couple said it was an honor to serve together as grand marshals.
“We believe in teamwork and we go together,” Lee said. “It makes a big difference when we work together.”
The Youmanses have helped the committee gather entries for the parade, Rhett said. They also work in the community with a 4-H group, a basketball team, and participate with a local group, the Pink Diamonds, which help those locally who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Recently, she helped honor her daughter Ebony, who was recognized during Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the completion of her treatments with a breakfast and gifts.
“We work with many different groups in the community,” Lee said. “It was an honor that they wanted both of us to serve as the grand marshals.”