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Community celebrates King legacy
Nicole Givon wraps an arm around her son, Chase, 3, while awaiting the start of the MLK Day parade in Hinesville Monday. - photo by Andrea Washington / Coastal Courier

MLK 2008 Highlights

Performance highlights of the 2008 Liberty County Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade.

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As her son marched by with his fellow Liberty County High School Panther Battalion schoolmates, Nicole Givon said attending the county's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. parade Monday was about more than just watching her son participate in another community event.
She said it was about acknowledging the legacy of a man unwilling to waver in his fight for justice and the history of a people who have overcome many struggles.
"African-Americans have been through a lot in this country and coming to this parade helps me understand a little bit more about way back then to now...they've come so far," Givon said. "And (King) opened the door to a lot of things to make anything possible, so it's an honor to come here."
With her two younger children at her side and dressed in winter jackets and scarves to deflect the day's chilly weather, she added the make-up of the crowd and participants for this year's parade was a reflection of what the civil rights leader fought to achieve.
Hosted by the Liberty County Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance Association as part of a four-day celebration honoring the civil rights leader's life, this year's event included a diverse group of more than 80 participants.
High school and middle school bands, step teams and cheer squads, church groups from across the county and a number of cultural organizations took to the parade route as the community, like most of the nation, commemorated the work of one of America's great leaders.
"Dr. King was very, very important. He really changed the way of life not just for black people, but for all people," parade watcher Clara M. Pippen said. "He changed our way of thinking."
King worked for more than a decade to ensure racial equality in employment, housing, voting and education, which was the cornerstone of this year's theme, "The Keys to Freedom Open Doors to Unlimited Opportunities."
His most famous efforts include the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.
"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood," King said, standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. "I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama...will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers."
And as "little black boys and black girls" and "little white boys and white girls" from the Little Treasures daycare sat side-by-side cheering as floats went by, Pippen said the dream may been realized, but must be kept alive.
"It's very encouraging to see these young children out here today. It's been 40 years since his death and to keep the dream going is very necessary," she said. "These little ones are important because they're going to be the ones who have to keep the dream going later on."
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