MLK Parade Canceled in Laurel - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

MLK Parade Canceled in Laurel

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LAUREL -- A 26-year tradition in the City of Laurel, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, might not happen this year.

"As it stands right now, the parade is still on hold," Mayor Johnny Magee said.

He said the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee of the Pine Belt wanted to have the parade on January 18. But on January 8 when the committee filed an application for a permit, there was a problem.

"You have to have your application in 30 days prior to the event," Magee explained.

Organization President Thaddeus Edmonson said it's never been a problem in the past.

"What happened before this year, 2014, I'm not at liberty to say because I don't know," Magee said. 

He offered the committee members a deal.

"We could look at waving the 30 day period if they paid the fee that goes with it," Magee said. 

The cost of paying for police officers, traffic control and public works clean-up would be about $700, he explained.

"The citizens around here should not have to pay a fee for something that's going to be a message for the community," Edmonson fired back.

The mayor said his hands are tied.

"We pride ourselves on trying to follow the rules, and that's what we're trying to do," Magee said.

Edmonson said if the parade is canceled, they'll comply.

"As a prototype of non-violence or noncompliance with local governments, we comply with all local and state laws and federal laws since this is a federal holiday," Edmonson said.  "So we would hope that someone would come to a conclusion that it's in the best interest of the city and the Pine Belt that we have this Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade."

Magee said he is an admirer of Dr. King, but rules are rules.

"He was a drum major for justice.  He was a drum major for righteousness, and we're just trying to do the right thing and be righteous as Dr. King would want us to be.

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