Martin Luther King Jr. Day observed with parade

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, January 17, 2017


There was a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Clanton on Jan. 16.

At noon, participants lined up their cars, trailers and horses in the Clanton City Park before they started their route through Clanton at 1 p.m. Citizens watched from the side of the road as the jubilant group came through town.

The parade proceeded south down Sixth Street, turned onto US 31 by Associated Foods and went north, then took Second Avenue North to Martin Luther King Jr. Street before ending the parade at the E.M. Henry Community Center.

The organizer of the parade, Robert Binion, has organized the parade in Clanton for 17 years.

“I’m trying to groom my son into doing it and continue it on,” Binion said. “The dream is not over yet.”

Binion said he marched in the Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965 – the same marches Martin Luther King, Jr. was a part of. These marches were met with violent resistance from state troopers and drew media attention across the country. The events that transpired are credited with hurrying the passage of voting rights bills in Congress.

“I was in some of those marches where it wasn’t as friendly,” Binion said. “I was in some of the marches where they had dogs … I was 17 years old. I ran. I got so scared I ran. I was a nervous man back then. It wasn’t as march-friendly as it is now.”

Binion said it is a personal experience for him to participate in the parade.

“I wouldn’t care if nobody came to the parade but me,” Binion said. “It’s about me; to lift me up.”

Binion said when he is in the parade, he thinks about those marches of the 60s, the progress that has been made since and the progress that, according to Binion, is still necessary.

“It’s something else we’re missing. What it is, I can’t answer that,” Binion said. “I wish we would come together as a nation.”