HOUSTON – Houston Astros center fielder George Springer and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, will serve as grand marshals at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.
For decades, the Bayou City has marked the national holiday with dueling parades. One, called The Original MLK Jr. Day Parade and Holiday Celebration, is organized by the Black Heritage Society and has been around for about 40 years. The other, called the MLK Grand Parade, has been around for 24 years.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced last year that the city’s official parade will now be The Original parade, because it was the first in the country and is officially licensed by the King Center in Atlanta.
On Tuesday, Turner said the move to create a single parade reflects King’s vision of unity.
“Let’s show the nation that Dr. King’s dream endures in Houston,” Turner said.
Sylvester Brown, of the Black Heritage Society, said he hopes that the parade will continue to grow in size.
“We’re out to make this the largest parade in the city of Houston,” Brown said.
Brown said this year’s parade is scheduled for Jan. 21, and registration closes on Thursday. He said that groups that do not register will not be allowed to participate in the parade. To register, go to BlackHeritageSociety.org or the society’s office at 5330 Griggs Road.
Organizers said the route of the parade has been moved to the same area that is used for the city’s Thanksgiving and Veterans Day parades, with staging on Allen Parkway and a starting point at Smith and Lamar streets.
A celebration will be held at City Hall after the parade.