December 29, 2022 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Black Heritage Society will host the 45th Annual Original MLK Jr. Day Parade in the heart of Downtown Houston.
The celebration will take place on Monday, January 16, 2023, beginning at 10 a.m. The parade is free to the public and will start at Lamar and Smith St.
This year's theme is "Climbing the Mountain to a Better Future." The Black Heritage Society has selected Mayor Turner as the 2023 Grand Marshal.
"The 2023 Original MLK Jr. Day Parade will be the last one during Mayor Turner's administration. The Black Heritage Society believes he is a wonderful representation of Dr. King's dream," said Black Heritage Society President Teresa Brewer. "Over the past seven years, Mayor Turner has led our city through natural disasters, pension reform, and creating a more resilient Houston for the future. He will leave a legacy of unity – bringing together diverse people in our city and putting Houston on the global stage."
The Co-Grand Marshals for the parade are the Rev. Dr. Derek King, nephew of Dr. MLK Jr., and Dr. Camille Cash, M.D., a prominent Houston plastic surgeon.
The parade will showcase marching bands, decorated floats, dance teams, military and ROTC groups, first responders, city and county officials, and more and will feature a special memorial tribute to the late John Bland.
"I am honored and humbled to serve as the grand marshal and encourage all Houstonians to participate by lining up along the parade route or signing up to sponsor a float," said Mayor Turner. "Houston is part of Dr. King's legacy, and he came here during the civil rights movement, and his leadership on behalf of all people is something we should commemorate."
Corporate sponsors this year include HEB, Blue Cross Blue Shield, AT&T, Allegiance Bank, Communications Workers of America (CWA), Co-Grand Marshal Camille Cash, Silver Eagle Distributors, Foston International Communications, Inc., and United Airlines. Radio One will serve as the official radio partner for the parade.
The Original MLK Day Parade was the very first MLK Day Parade held in the nation after being sanctioned by the King family in 1978 in Houston. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a Federal Holiday that honors the legacy of Dr. King, focuses on civil rights issues, highlights the use of nonviolence to promote change, and calls people into public service.