"The Color of Unity"

After careful analysis of the 2016 and 2017 MLK Holiday Grand Parades, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Foundation will take several measures designed to improve the parade activity on several different levels. First of all, we are extremely grateful to the parade participants as well as the general public for their patience, tolerance, and embrace of the MLK Holiday Grand Parade. ​​​

The MLK Holiday Grand Parade is, or should be, a teaching and reinforcement mechanism for participants as well as the attending general public. For the youth, it is a teaching process; for adults, a reinforcement process. It is a time when we take pause, figuratively, to eat the unleavened bread.

It is a time when we light, figuratively, our Menorah candles. It is a time when we (in celebration) pause to thank The Almighty. It is a time when we all should pause in remembrance of the blood shed by the innocents. It is a remembrance of Charles Mack Parker, Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, JImmie Lee Jackson and others. It is prayerful remembrance on the carnage at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. It is prayerful remembrance of the 4,076 lynchings that took place in America from 1877 to 1950. Finally, it is a time when we most definitely, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

It is very important that we institute changes in the format, execution, and delivery of the MLK Holiday Grand Parade as Jacksonville deserves to present an activity that is wholly representative of Dr. King and a the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, and the unfinished business thereof. In preparation for the MLK Holiday Grand Parade 2018, which marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, the following changes will be made:

MLK Parade Registration

The MLK Parade registration period will begin on October 1, 2017 and end on December 31, 2017. The MLK Memorial Foundation will accept 225 entries from the pool of registrants. The accepted entries will include:

Elected Officials, Dignitaries, etc;     25

K-12 School Groups (Incl bands)     50

Business Organizations                    25

Non- Business Orgs                          25

Churches                                            25

Childcare/Dance Studios                  25

Invitation Only                                    50

Parade participants will be limited to a maximum of two vehicles per entry. Four-axle vehicles (other than floats) will be prohibited as will be non-invited motorcycle clubs.

MLK Holiday Parade Mandatory Meeting

Annually, the Foundation provides written and verbal instructions to invited parade registrants. This practice will continue, but only for registrants making payment by the posted deadline. Since make-up meetings have been poorly attended and as a result, relatively inconsequential, there will not be a make-up meeting.

MLK Parade Lineup

We are contemplating hiring Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC) to handle parade section lineup at Parking Lot "E" for the 2018 activity. A holding area will be designated to ensure that each parade entry conforms to the minimum MLK Parade decoration requirements. Upon passing the inspection, entries will be directed to CSC at Parking Lot "E".

The utilization of CSC personnel will ensure an orderly arrival and placement of parade participants. Because of past problems associated with unregistered participants, entries will be inspected for MLK parade decoration compliance and proper registration.

The most important change that will be made is the arrival times of parade entry sections. This change will have a significant impact on traffic patterns, lot congestion, prolonged waiting periods, and ultimately, the duration of the parade itself.

Sections A & B 8:00a to 9:00aInspection By Marshals 
Sections C & D 9:15a to 10:00aInspection By Marshals
Sections E & F10:15 a to 11:00aInspection By Marshals

Parade Marshals will escort their respective inspected sections throughout the parade to ensure continuity, gap control, safe practices, etc.  The MLK Holiday Grand Parade on Monday, January 15, 2018, will start at 10:00a led by city officials, grand marshals, dignitaries, etc., and followed by Sections A through F.

The implementation of the aforementioned recommendations will produce a better MLK Experience for participants, onlookers, and volunteers. The overarching objective of the MLK Holiday Grand Parade is to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and the contributions made by hundreds of thousands of real life people who stood up (and sat down) in the ubiquitous quest to alleviate, and ultimately eradicate the evils of racism, militarism, violence, and poverty.

We appreciate your donation in any amount to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation.

"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation, Inc.