SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — This month, thousands will pay tribute to a civil rights icon in one of the nation's largest MLK parades.
The 40th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade steps off on Jan. 19, bringing floats, high school bands and drill teams, colleges, churches, and many more to Harbor Drive to honor the work of Dr. King. The parade is free and begins at 2 p.m. in front of the County Administration building.
CAN'T MAKE IT OUT? 10News live be live streaming the parade on 10News.com, our 10News mobile app, on Facebook, and on your television streaming device (Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire).
MTS buses and Trolleys will operate on a regular weekday service schedule on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Transit Store, Compass Service Center, MTS Administrative offices, and Customer Service will be closed. The MTS Information and Trip Planning call center will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The parade is organized by the Zeta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, which is also organizing the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Educator's Breakfast and MLK Golf Classic this month. Alpha Phi Alpha is the oldest African American fraternity in America and King was a once member.
The parade and MLK celebrations precede Black History Month beginning in February.
MLK in San Diego
King last visited San Diego in 1964, according to the San Diego History Center. It was arguably at the height of King's most celebrated period, after giving his famous "I Have A Dream" speech and being named Time magazine's "Man of the Year" in 1963.
The history center says King's visit also came as black San Diegans routinely saw discrimination. The city had earned the nickname "the Mississippi of the West," according to historians Seth Mallios and Breana Campbell. African Americans were denied loans from banks, housing outside of segregated neighborhoods, and refused entrance by some business owners, the authors wrote.
Nonetheless, King's presence in town was well-regarded by those who watched him speak at San Diego State College (now San Diego State University) and California Western University (now Point Loma Nazarene University). One witness recalls King, “was very warm … very genuine [and] seemed to be very caring and sincere ... He spoke to me as though I was someone he was very familiar with.”
In his CWU speech, King is quoted as saying:
"And may I say to you, my friends, that I still have faith in the future. I know these are difficult moments and so many of us are faced with problems day in and day out. And I know that we are still at the bottom of the economic ladder, still the last hired and the first fired. I know that we are forced to stand amidst conditions of oppression, trampled over day in and day night by the iron feet of injustice. But in spite of this I still believe that we have the resources in this nation to solve this problem, and that we will solve this problem."