Southeast Texans: please join us for the socially distanced MLK Day Parade in Orange, Texas on January 18, 2021.

The last MLK Day parade was held in Orange in January 2018. We will be reviving that beloved and long-standing tradition next month.

Please join my family on January 18, 2021 as we take part in the Martin Luther King Day Parade in Orange, Texas where Tracie grew up.

We’ll be meeting at Solomon Johnson Park at 10 a.m. and marching over to the Heritage House Museum.

My co-organizer MaQuettia Ledet (founder of Impact Orange) and I have been working closely with the City of Orange to ensure that we can march safely.

We’re going to be requiring marchers to wear masks and socially distance. We’ll be asking people to form groups of no more than 10 persons, ideally from the same household, and then we’ll coordinate the timing of each group’s start time so that they can socially distance from other groups. We will also have free masks to distribute.

There will be no speeches or gathering at the end of the march. We’ll simply disassemble at the end point.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to the City of Orange for their help in making this possible (they have been awesome to deal with).

Heartfelt thanks also to everyone who donated to our GoFundMe campaign to raise money for our special events insurance policy. We raised more than our $500 goal. The extra money will go to masks, bottled water, and hand sanitizer to distribute at the march. The campaign is still active if you’d like to contribute.

I can’t speak to the reason why the MLK march hasn’t been held for the last three years in Orange. It was once a beloved and long-standing tradition. Next month, it will be renewed.

That’s a photo of Solomon Johnson below (it comes from the Portal to Texas History via the Heritage House Museum in Orange). The park where the march will begin is named after him.

According to the Orange Leader, the city’s paper of record:

    Solomon Johnson was an Orange native who served as president of the Civic Betterment League for 22 years and was referred to as the “bronze mayor” for several years. As “bronze mayor” he attended city council meetings to represent his people in the community even though he was not allowed to vote. He also lead delegates to the Texas Negro Chamber of Commerce and the National Negro Business League. It was during his time as president, the first black police officer was hired. At that time, the officer was only allowed to arrest black offenders.

On January 18, 2021, as we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, we will also honor the many civil rights activists from Orange who have fought for justice and equity over the years. I hope you can join us. (See this Orange Leader article to learn more about some of those community leaders.)

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