Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebrations begin

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Events celebrating the birthday of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have begun in the Pine Belt. Saturday, the City of Laurel hosted an annual parade along Beacon Street celebrating the life of Dr. King.

Several churches and marching bands took part.

The grand marshal was Hattiesburg mayor and gubernatorial candidate Johnny Dupree.

"Martin Luther King was a great man and he did a lot of great things for everybody and it's just something that we will never forget," said Helen Armond, who was watching the parade.

"He wanted us to do better as black and white and every different race, just to be together and be happy," said Adonis McCullum, a student from Heidelberg who was also watching the parade.

The City of Purvis also held a parade Saturday honoring the life and work of Dr. King. It featured floats and marching bands from as far away as Lauderdale County.

Hattiesburg mayor Johnny Dupree served as grand marshal for that parade as well.

©2011 WDAM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.