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Martin Luther King Day 2019: Parades Around the Country Commemorating the Famous Civil Rights Leader

January 21 is Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day—a federal holiday which celebrates the life of the Baptist minister and social rights activist who played a key role in the civil rights movement which campaigned for racial equality in the United States.

Americans will get a day off, with most schools and businesses set to close. And to celebrate, many cities around the country will be hosting various events and parades.

Read more: Martin Luther King Jr. assassination anniversary: "I Have a Dream" speech full text and video

Here is our pick of the MLK Day parades:

Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia was one of the first jurisdictions in the country to hold a parade in honor of MLK after he was assassinated in 1968. The capital’s 38th annual event will begin assembling at 11:00 a.m. EST at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and Good Hope Road SE, with check-in opening at 10:00 a.m. at the Anacostia Arts Center at 1231 Good Hope Road SE.

“The parade will step off at 12:00 pm and proceed south on Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE through downtown Anacostia,” according to the organizers. “It will conclude at the campus of St. Elizabeth’s East with a Health and Community Fair at the Gateway Pavilion located at 2700 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE.”

Houston, Texas

The Houston Grande parade is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Check in begins at 8:00 a.m. CT near Houston Community College Central Campus. Starting at 10:00 a.m., the route extends from the intersection of San Jacinto Street and Elgin Street in Mid-Town until the that of San Jacinto and Webster Street—running for about a mile and lasting two hours. According to the organizers, around 300,000 spectators are expected to attend.

Miami, Florida                    

The 42nd annual Miami parade will begin at 11 a.m. EST and is expected to last for around 2.5 hours. It will start in Liberty City at NW 54th Street and 10th Avenue, finishing at 32nd Avenue. The parade—which the organizers say is the oldest and largest of its kind in the U.S.—is expected to attract 500,000 spectators.

“There are more than 100 entries that include corporate floats; federal, state, and local officials; police and military units; historic pioneers; high school and college marching bands; dance and drill teams; equestrians;  classic and exotic cars; motorcycles; historic MD transit bus; civic, church, community, and veteran groups; and trade unions,” the organizers wrote on the event website.

Martin Luther King in Pictures: The Life and Times of the Civil Rights Icon

Phoenix, Arizona

The Phoenix march will begin staging around 8:30 a.m. at the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church and will kick off at 9:00 a.m., finishing at Margaret T. Hance Park where an MLK day festival will be taking place. There, revelers can enjoy food, interactive displays, art and entertainment.

San Diego, California

The San Diego march marks its 39th annual iteration and is coordinated this year by the Zeta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.—the oldest African American fraternity in the United States, founded in 1906, of which Dr. King was once a member. The parade begins at 2:00 p.m. on Harbor Drive and will finish Embarcadero, and is expected to take around three hours.

GettyImages-2507371 American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sits on a couch and speaks on the telephone after encountering a white mob protesting against the Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, May 26, 1961. Express Newspapers/Getty Images

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