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Pensacola Honors Martin Luther King, Jr. At Annual Parade

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Christopher Satterwhite
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There was music, sunshine, diversity and laughter Monday in downtown Pensacola as the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade got under way. 

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Credit Alesia Ross
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Pensacola City Councilman P.C. Wu and Police Chief David Alexander, III. Alexander was Grand Marshal of the parade.

The Grand Marshal of this year's parade was David Alexander, III, Chief of the Pensacola Police Department.

"It represents the celebration of the legacy of a great man, a great leader, who not only had a dream for himself, but for his family and every human being on earth," said Alexander.

Alexander believes he has benefited from the efforts of Dr. King and others who participated in the Civil Rights Movement, pointing that he was born into segregation in 1960 at a clinic just for blacks.

"What I'm saying is God is good and he gave me this opportunity," Alexander said. "He'll give every young person an opportunity if they would just apply themselves and engage civically in making this place a better place to live."

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan also attended the parade. "There (King) was very eloquent speaker that was touched by God, and literally called for this," said Morgan. "I'm not so sure that anyone else could have done what Dr. King did."

This is the 30th year for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day observance. Many see it as a time to bring the community together, and celebrate the positive.

In a continuing theme, it was noted that progress has been made during the past 50-60 years, but there's still work to be done. Highlighting that point are the recent high profile police shootings of African Americans in a number of cities across the country.

Ginger Maggiore is an elementary school teacher in Pensacola. "We talk about inequality in our classroom quite a bit and ways that young people as nine, ten year-old  people can actually work to fix inequality," Maggiore said.

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Credit Alesia Ross
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"If no one has told you about Dr. King, do more than just be in a classroom when a teacher tells it to you or making it about just this one month," said Alesia Ross, encouraging individuals to do their own homework to find out more about the slain civil rights leader and what he was trying to do and the others who worked with him. "You become one of them. You be the change you want to see."

The sounds and interviews for this article were collected by WUWF's Timothy Jones.