They gathered in the cold in downtown Little Rock on Monday for the annual Martin Luther King Junior march and parade. Festivities got under way around 11:00 in the morning and it was a huge parade.
High school performers and bands danced and played to stay warm and to huge applause. There were bands, beauty queens, guys on roller skates, and you could tell it's an election year with plenty of campaigning. Even Congressman Vic Snyder stopped in to say hello.
Many parents, who have the day off work, brought their kids.
One dad says, "I get to bring my kids out here and celebrate the life of a great man who did some good civil rights things for us and we're here to celebrate."
Dr. Fitz Hill, of Arkansas Baptist College, was grand marshal. 98 groups participated.
Mom Erin Thomas says, "I have the right to do a lot of things because of him. So I bring my niece here and my husband so we can celebrate."
Organizers were a little disappointed with the low turnout.
Dale Charles with the NAACP says, "We feel people in this country still have a long way to go to realize the dream. We’re making progress but it's not as fast as we'd like."
This was the 25th annual MLK march and parade. Walkers started all the way down at 33rd Street and MLK Drive. They will end up at the State Capitol.
Dr. Hill from Arkansas Baptist College was also the keynote speaker. His message centered around parenting as the dream of this generation, to put an end to crime and drug-use.
Hill says, "As a former football coach I couldn't expect anything out of my players that I didn't teach them. So what we get from our kids is because we're not teaching them. Don’t point your finger at your kid if you haven't trained them."
Despite Monday's cold weather, the entire event lasted more than three hours. Organizers with the NAACP say they remember colder years, one that was eighteen degrees.
Dr. Hill also talked about how many Americans live too comfortably in 2008. Hill called on Arkansans to challenge themselves to live a little uncomfortably in order to made effective change in society.