MLK parade, Battle of Bands set for Monday

Marching bands from two of Mississippi’s three predominantly black universities – Mississippi Valley State and Alcorn State – return to Biloxi’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Monday, and Biloxi NAACP President James Crowell says there’s a strong chance that Jackson State’s Sonic Boom also may participate.

For years, Biloxi has hosted one of the largest MLK celebrations outside of Atlanta, thanks to the three collegiate groups participating in a Battle of the Bands before thousands of spectators at Yankie Stadium. The city co-sponsors the event with the Biloxi branch of the NAACP.

“Valley and Alcorn have confirmed that they will participate in the parade and Battle of the Bands,” Crowell said, “and I’m praying that Jackson State will decide to come. They’re leaning our way right now.”

The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at the Biloxi Community Center on Howard Avenue. It will travel west on MLK Boulevard, north on Reynoir Street, east on Esters Boulevard, north on Main Street, and turning east on Division Street before ending at Yankie Stadium, where the Battle of the Bands will be held.

Parade marshal this year will be the Rev. Kenneth Haynes of Main Street Missionary Baptist Church in Biloxi, who will be accompanied by his wife, Bobbie.

Crowell also said that the Rev. James Orange, founder of the Dr. Martin Lither King March, will be keynote speaker at the Coastwide MLK celebration, which takes place Sunday at Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church in Gulfport.

To see the entire schedule for MLK events, as compiled by the Coastwide MLK committee, click here.

Children’s walking parade seeks registrants

Organizers of the Children’s Mardi Gras Walking Parade are seeking entrants for the annual parade, which rolls Feb. 3 through downtown Biloxi.

To read more about the parade and see a registration form, click here.