Philadelphia community pays tribute to Dr. King

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PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (WTOK) - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, non-violent approach to bring change and equality sparked a movement that would alter the course of history.

As his memory lives on, thousands of people celebrated his legacy by marching through the streets of cities around the country.

"It's not about one race or one gender; it's about coming together as a whole," said Jacob Boler, the grand marshal for Philadelphia's MLK Parade.

The parade featured city officials, local high schools and community leaders.

Parade participants emphasized the importance of honoring the late civil rights worker.

"By them marching, coming up, helping us out, we're moving on up. But we need to get out and honor him more than what we are doing," said Tony Stewart.

King influenced global movements that would make their way to Mississippi and impact our local communities.

The Mississippi Summer Project, or better known as Freedom Summer, happened because of the work of Dr. King and other civil rights workers. People we spoke with say this country would be a different place without his contributions.

"We would be lost. I think we'd be lost as a society if we didn't have those influential people in terms of what they meant to us and what they paved for us. Because of them, we are," said LaToya Bledsoe.

It's a time of remembrance that serves as a teaching moment for the next generation.

"Every opportunity we try to pass down the legacy to the younger generation to let them know what it means, what it stood for and let them know that this is something that they cannot let go. They've got to keep on kicking that can down the road, as I always say. They got to keep on bringing it forward," said Wayne Benn, band director for Philadelphia High School.

Dr. King has strong ties with Philadelphia and Neshoba County. In June of 1966, he marched from Independence Quarters to the courthouse to bring attention to the 1964 Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman murders.

His march eventually led to the Downtown Philadelphia Historic District being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.