DALLAS - Nearly 200,000 people are are in Dallas for the annual parade honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The parade started at 10 a.m. on MLK Boulevard and will end at Fair Park. New Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson served as grand marshal. She is the first black woman to serve as the county’s chief prosecutor.
"He had such an impact on this country. Yes at one it was just civil rights, but the later part of his mission was about human rights. So he has done a tremendous job of moving along this whole issue of civil rights," Johnson said. "This is a day to remember what he's done, all the sacrifices that were made, just a little piece of the bigger picture about injustice in our community.
There will also be MLK celebrations and community service events in other cities. Fort Worth’s parade starts at 11. In Denton, a march will kick off at 4:30 p.m. starting at the UNT campus and Monday is Arlington’s Day of Service.
In Washington D.C., early risers began to gather at the national memorial of the slain civil rights leader to remember his life and cause as part of a national civil rights holiday.
King, a Baptist pastor, was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. on April 4, 1968 during a jobs march. His assassin, James Earl Ray, a white man, was convicted and sentences to 99 years in prison.
King’s white granite memorial is located at the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. It’s also within a sightline to the Lincoln Memorial to the northwest.
The Lincoln Memorial is the location of Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech in 1963, during the march on Washington for jobs and freedom, which helped further ignite the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
King is the first African American honored with a memorial on or near the National Mall and only the fourth non-president honored that way.