Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade attracts large crowd in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade worked its way from Broadway and NW 7 to Bricktown on Monday.
by Bryan Painter Published: January 17, 2012

Uyvonne Cooper, of Oklahoma City, stood behind a folding chair occupied by her 7-year-old grandson Cornelius along Broadway on Monday afternoon in downtown Oklahoma City.

A half a block away, Tiwanda Hamilton, of Edmond, was surrounded by her three children during Oklahoma City's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.

The grandmother and the mother attended the parade for the same reasons.

Each wanted to show respect for the civil rights leader. But Cooper and Hamilton also wanted the younger generations to be aware of a Martin Luther King Jr. whose influence carries well beyond a few pages in a textbook. They want them to understand what he accomplished, but also that his dream isn't complete.

“This generation doesn't understand how he fought, how we couldn't eat in certain places, how we couldn't go different places because of our race,” Cooper said.

“I think we've come a long ways,” Hamilton said, “but it still needs changing.”

On Monday, Joyce Henderson was near the start of the parade that worked its way from Broadway and NW 7 to Bricktown. She remembers being a teen at another gathering, one she doesn't ever want to forget.

A meaningful day

Henderson, of Oklahoma City, was a 16-year-old situated somewhere in the masses of the March on Washington. The soon-to-be senior at Dunjee High School heard the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. present his “I Have a Dream” speech that day — Aug. 28, 1963.

That, in part, is why Monday's parade, attended by thousands, was so meaningful to Henderson.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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