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Oklahoma City parade celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy

Onlookers packed downtown sidewalks Monday afternoon as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade passed by. The Oklahoma City parade began at Broadway and NW 7 and proceeded through Automobile Alley, then followed Sheridan Avenue through Bricktown to the Coca-Cola Bricktown Events Center.
by Silas Allen Published: January 21, 2013

Arthur Harrison Sr. brought his two sons downtown Monday to celebrate a dream that he says the nation hasn't fully realized.

Harrison joined hundreds of other onlookers along Sheridan Avenue in Bricktown on Monday for the city's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.

Harrison, 38, said he thinks the country is moving toward the dream King laid out in his 1963 speech on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. We haven't reached it yet, he said, but he's seen positive steps.

As an example, Harrison pointed to the parade itself. People of a vast range of races and ethnic backgrounds are involved, both as spectators and participants, he said.

“I think people are being more racially tolerant,” he said.

As he waited for the parade to begin, Harrison kept an eye on his two sons, Jawuan, 8, and Arthur Jr., 16 months. The two boys sat inside a car, out of the cold, as their father stood on the sidewalk.

Harrison said he began teaching Jawuan at age 4 about King, his legacy and what he worked for. Jawuan understands King's legacy and how it shaped the nation today, Harrison said.

He's told him about King's crusade for civil rights and the ideas about nonviolence and civil disobedience that made it different from other movements of King's day.

“The peaceful protest is what made him different,” he said.

Leading the parade was a group from the Oklahoma City chapter of the NAACP, who walked the parade route singing civil rights anthems like “Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round.”

Following behind them were a range of religious groups, political candidates and Greek organizations from Oklahoma colleges and universities.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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