City will hold wreath-laying ceremony on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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Brother Walter Umrani holds the wreath for the 2011 ceremony. (Sabree Hill, Uptown Messenger file photo)

The Mayor’s Office will mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday (Jan. 17) with a ceremony at the monument to the slain civil rights leader at South Claiborne Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The memorial wreath-laying ceremony will be held in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. monument at 11 a.m.

The city has traditionally honored King on the national holiday with a march through Central City, beginning at A.L. Davis Park, pausing at the statue on MLK and Oretha Castle Haley boulevards, and culminating with the wreath-laying ceremony. The parades traditionally featured high school bands, dance troupes, and city officials, church leaders and civil rights activists linking arms.

The march will not be held this year, Mayor’s Office spokesperson Sharmaine Russ said in an email. In 2021, the city’s official MLK Day events were cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organizers have not released the names of the speakers at Monday’s memorial ceremony. “We are still in the planning process,” Russ said Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 13). “These details have not yet been finalized.”

The Sophie B. Wright band marches down Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard at the start of the MLK remembrance march in 2020. (Dinah Rogers, Uptown Messenger file photo)

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