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Holiday honors King, his legacy

By Times Staff Report
Published January 11, 2007


It was more than two decades ago that President Reagan signed into law a new federal holiday, making the third

Monday in January a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. In 1986, the holiday was celebrated for the first time.

The Tampa Bay area will be full of cultural, spiritual and political events to honor the legacy of the civil rights leader. There will be parades, concerts and a visit by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, as well as a showing of art by the famous Florida Highwaymen.


Black Heritage Gala: Florida Highwaymen artists will be there, as will art exhibits, music and food, at 7 p.m. at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. $50-$60 (VIP extra). The exhibit will be on display for six weeks.

M.L. King Jr. Holiday Safety Harbor Celebration: Beginning with a pancake breakfast and short program of speakers, the celebration gets under way at 8 a.m. at the Safety Harbor Community Center, 650 Ninth Ave. S.

Breakfast is $4, but the program is free. A march follows at 10 a.m. from the center to Main Street, then to Daisy Douglas Park, 601 Ninth Ave. N, where games and entertainment continue until 2 p.m.

Largo Community Celebration: Music by the Annointed Voices, the Love Singers and others will run from 2 to 5 p.m.

There are also children’s games and other activities at Ulmer Park, 301 West Bay Drive. Free.


Black Heritage Street Festival: Music, including the SOS Band on Saturday (Take Your Time, Do It Right) and smooth jazz artist Wayman Tisdale on Sunday, as well as “villages” of artists, authors and children’s activities.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. No coolers, but bring lawn chairs to Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave., Tampa.


Martin Luther King Jr. Battle of the Bands and Drum Line Extravaganza: See the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) All-Star Band and high school marching bands from seven states strut their stuff at 6:15 p.m. at Tropicana Field, 16th Street and First Avenue S, St. Petersburg. $10 advance, $12 at door. (727) 327-0085.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Celebration: This Baha’i family celebration in Tampa features music, dance, archival speeches featuring Dr. King, poetry and more. It starts at 3 p.m. at International Bazaar at Centro Ybor, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Free.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade: Beginning at noon at Blake High School, 1701 N Boulevard, Tampa, the parade moves south on N Boulevard to Main Street, west to Willow Avenue, south to Cypress Street and east to N Boulevard, ending at Pepin/Rood Stadium.

Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Parade: At 1:15 p.m., marching bands from around the country join the parade, which begins at Third Avenue S and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street in downtown St. Petersburg and ends at Vinoy Park on the waterfront.

Candlelight Vigil: Bring a flashlight or candle. The walk begins at 6:30 p.m. at Demens Landing, Bayshore Drive and First Avenue S, downtown St. Petersburg.

Clearwater MLK March and Rally: Starting at 9:30 a.m. at North Greenwood Recreation and Aquatic Complex, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., the march moves to Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater for a rally at 11 a.m.

Speakers are James Perkins Jr., mayor of Selma, Ala., and William Floyd of the San Francisco 49ers’ 1995 Super Bowl team. Then sit back for music by jazz saxophonist Eric Darius. Free.


Conjuring the Blues: This living history exhibit at Hillsborough Community College’s Dale Mabry Campus opens Tuesday and runs through Feb. 20.
Jan. 18

The Rev. Jesse Jackson: The civil rights activist and friend of Dr. King will give a talk at 7 p.m. at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome in Tampa . The Sun Dome is at 4202 E Fowler Ave., and the event is free.

Compiled by Times staff writers Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Ruth Walsh.

[Last modified January 11, 2007, 17:13:43]

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