Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade rolls through Clanton for 24th time

Published 12:57 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

The 24th Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade was held on Jan. 15 through downtown Clanton to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The parade, which has been held every year since 1999 except in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had a more special time this year as the holiday fell on King’s birthday. The holiday each year is celebrated on the third Monday of January.

“Every year, I go around the county to try and get folks to come join in with us,” parade organizer Robert Binion said. “Everyone got a little nervous because of the weather today. We usually have more people, but the show must go on. Just because it is cold, it has to go on. We have been doing it a long time, and we invite the whole community out.”

The parade began at 1 p.m. at Jack Hayes Field in Clanton before making its way through downtown, across 7th Street and ending at the E.M. Henry Community Center. Around 50 cars, police cruisers, firetrucks, dune buggies and golf carts participated in the parade to honor one of the world’s greatest advocators.

For Binion, he said this event is important every year because he “wants to keep it on the forefront … Continue to let everyone know that Dr. King marched all over the United States.”

Binion recalled the support from former Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver in establishing the parade in the late 1990s, and he is proud the city provides the permits every year to keep the tradition of the parade alive.

“I just want to see it go on for however long I live, and then I will pass it down if someone else wants to do it,” Binion said.

Following the parade, an event at the E.M. Henry Community Center was held with a raffle contest, fellowship between residents and a few guest speakers on what would have been King’s 95th birthday.