Although the parade focuses on King's legacy, organizers with the Oklahoma City Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Coalition said the day's events also served as a reminder of the life of Oklahoma civil rights icon Clara Luper, who died June 8 in Oklahoma City at age 88.
Luper led sit-in demonstrations at lunch counters in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. She also led the Oklahoma City NAACP Youth Council for 35 years. About 2,000 people attended her funeral.
As he sat on the parade route with his sons, Harrison said he was encouraged by the direction the nation is headed. It's fitting that the country celebrates King's legacy on the same day that its first black president was inaugurated for his second term, he said.
Before his sons are grown, Harrison said he'd like to see the country keep chasing King's dream. He hopes to see an end to discrimination and racial profiling and equal opportunity for people of every background, he said. That's a goal he said he thinks the nation can reach.
“It's not there,” he said. “We've got to keep going forward toward that dream.”