MLK Day in Chipley

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Bay County wasn't the only community celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday Monday. In fact, there were a number of events across the panhandle.

Forty two years after his famous “I have a dream” speech, his message of reform is still inspiring change.

Rev. Thomas Smith, parade organizer, said, “This is the first official parade and it’s going to continue for year after year from now on.”

Hundreds of folks in Chipley began a new tradition Monday morning. The city's first annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade saw representatives from area churches march for one of the greatest Americans.

This may be Chipley's first MLK Day parade, but these folks say King's message of equality is evident in their community.

"The people in key places, they're a mix of people. They're not just all white or all black. They're mix on the jobs in the community, and places when I was a boy was predominately black, is anybody now."

Parade goers say King's philosophy of non-violent protest created social and political opportunities.

Rev. Luther Farmer, a Chipley resident, said, “We should always remember if it had not been for him that we wouldn't have the privileges many of us have today. By his work and his efforts we have people in the Senate. We have people in government who are in high positions, and because of him that dream is still alive. “

Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, but his beliefs and his message live on.

“It doesn't make any difference how long he's been dead. We're going to keep that dream alive."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s actual birth date is January 15. Were he still alive, he would have been 77 years old.