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LA's Kingdom Day Parade Preceded Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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The Frederick KC Price III Schools Marching band at Kingdom Day Parade in Crenshaw, L.A., Jan. 21, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Before there was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there was the Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles.

Launched 17 years after King's assassination, the parade began on the streets of the city as a way to celebrate the venerated preacher's mission and uphold the idea of a holiday based on love and acceptance.

The following year, the U.S. observed the first Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"It's more than just another parade," says Dr. Adrian Dove, the event's president and CEO. "MLK said there should be equality between black and white and everybody else. You cannot assume that it will just happen automatically. We have to fight for it."

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Dove, who worked with King years ago, says he hopes that this year's event will serve as a reminder that, while we've made progress in the fight for social justice in America, we still have a ways to go.

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Community groups celebrate on a float down Martin Luther King Blvd during the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

"What we are seeing now is the next stage," he says. "This parade wants to carry that message from Dr. King to move into the 21st century and a whole new era...I'm not really sure where it's going to go, but I think if we stick to King's philosophy, we are going to get there."

This year's parade was grand marshalled by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and feature appearances by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, radio host Big Boy and more. The procession will also include 10 high school bands, equestrian units and a host of elected officials.

The parade began at 10:15 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Western Avenue and followed a three-mile route ending in Leimert Park. Below are a few more photos from the celebrations.

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The Compton High School Marching Band at the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21st, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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Cathedral City High School Ballet Folklorico at the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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Community groups and businesses march down Martin Luther King Blvd during the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21st,2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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Kim Eung Hwa Korean Dance at Kingdom Day Parade in Crenshaw, LA. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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The Hollywood High School Marching Band at the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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The Hollywood High School Marching Band at the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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A dreadlocked Statue of Liberty greets paradegoers at the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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The Inglewood High School Marching Band at the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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The Inglewood High School Marching Band at the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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Community members supporting the teachers union strike in Los Angeles march in the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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Community groups and businesses march down Martin Luther King Blvd during the Kingdom Day Parade on January 21st,2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)