MLK Day celebation: Ebony Society hopes for big parade turnout

LAWRENCEVILLE - The excitement around Democrat Barack Obama's presidential race could draw an even bigger crowd to Gwinnett's annual Martin Luther King Day celebration, said Robbie Susan Moore, the United Ebony Society leader planning the event.

"It's a celebration of people leading the way," Moore said of the annual parade and program, themed "The Dream: Delivering on the Promise" this year.

Obama's achievement as the first black to win the Iowa caucuses, she said, has brought even more attention to the legacy of King, the Atlanta pastor who lead the Civil Rights Movement.

"I think that has landed on a lot of young people's minds," Moore said, adding that the T-shirt designed by Collins Hill High School for the event lists Obama's name as one of several leaders delivering on the promise.

This year is also special, she said, since seven local cities have recently recognized the King Day holiday. A candlelight ceremony before the parade will mark that occasion, she said.

The celebration begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Historic Lawrenceville Square. Then, a crowd of about 1,000 is expected to march down Crogan Street to Central Gwinnett High School. There, a program will include guest speakers, singing and the reading of essays by local school children.

Also Monday, the United Ebony Society will recognize Pastor Tony Brock of Hope and Life Fellowship in Snellville. Moore said he will receive the Dream Keeper Award for leading a diverse church with about 50 nationalities in the congregation.

SideBar: If you go

What: Gwinnett United Ebony Society's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration

When: 9:30 a.m. festivities and parade; noon service

Where: Parade begins at the Historic Lawrenceville Square and program continues at Central Gwinnett High School