Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring the late activist and Civil Rights Movement leader, is celebrated this year on Monday, January 20, 2020. Across the country, Americans will be celebrating his life and legacy with parades, festivals, ceremonies, and more.
Since Atlanta, Georgia was Martin Luther King Jr.‘s birthplace, it is no surprise that the metropolitan city and its neighboring towns have many events scheduled in his honor.
If you live or are visiting in or around Atlanta, Georgia, and want to join the festivities on the federal holiday for MLK’s birthday, here’s what you need to know about the parade:
NAACP DeKalb Is Hosting the 18th MLK Day Parade
AJC.com reports that, this year, the NAACP DeKalb is hosting Atlanta’s 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.
WHEN IT STARTS: Participants are asked to arrive at 10am. The pre-parade ceremony will begin at 11:30am and the parade will start promptly at 12pm.
WHERE IT STARTS: Green Pastures Christian Ministries Church (5455 Flat Shoals Parkway, Decatur).
WHERE IT ENDS: Martin Luther King High School (3991 Snapfinger Rd., Stonecrest).
The parade route makes its way east on Flat Shoals Parkway and then south on Snapfinger Road (also known as Ga. Hwy. 155/Martin Luther King Junior Parkway).
This year’s Grand Marshall for the parade is Barbara Cross, who survived the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Local participants in the parade include the DeKalb County School District, Public Safety Department, and Sanitation Division, the DeKalb Sheriff’s Department, Green Pastures Christian Ministries Church, John Miles auto dealerships, and more. Boost Mobile is also a partner for the parade event.
On the NAACP DeKalb website, they ask that anyone planning on participating in the parade brings with them a poster board sign honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Some of their recommended slogans are “Happy Birthday, Dr. King,” “MLK Jr. Honoring his legacy and dream,” and “Dr. King, your dream lives on in all of us.”
A complete list of rules and regulations regarding parade participation or spectatorship can be found on the NAACP DeKalb website here.
Additional Parade & Event Options for MLK Day in Atlanta
While the NAACP’s parade is the main event being advertised in the Atlanta area for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it is not your only option. According to Atlanta Parent, there is a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Peace March in Atlanta beginning at 10am. Atlanta Parent explains that the parade route begins “at the Henry County Performing Arts Center and goes through downtown McDonough and the square.”
The United Ebony Society is also hosting an MLK Day parade. The parade’s theme is “The Time Is Always Right to Do What is Right!” and it begins at 11am on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 20). The parade begins at Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center (75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville).
If a parade is not your thing, there are other ways to celebrate. According to AJP.com, on January 20 there will be an “MLK Day 5K Drum Run” at 8am in Piedmont Park, a birthday celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, and family programming (including speeches, performances, and screenings) at the Atlanta History Center.