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Miami Marching Bands Perform In Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration In Liberty City

Thousands lined the streets of Liberty City Monday for the 43rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade.

Street vendors set up shop early and the smell of smoked ribs and fried conch wafted through the air as the parade began.

Police motorcades and politicians sitting on top of cars rolled by, followed by city buses and floats from community organizations and schools including Florida International University.

Paradegoers on the sidewalks waved to the floats passing and pressed against the barricades when they heard trumpets. For many, the highlight was watching marching bands from local high schools including Miami Central and Northwestern. 

"This is what I come for," said Carla Johnson, a Northwestern alumni. "They get better and better each year to me."

Chad Norton, Northwestern's band director said having so many bands performing in the parade creates a healthy competition.

"We work hard, so we bring it all together and it's a wonderful atmosphere for our students and our community" he said.

He also said part of King's legacy is being able to gather as a community.

“This is what Dr. King fought for," he said. "He fought for us to come together and to have free reign to be able to do what we need to do and feel safe and I appreciate him for the things he did.”

Gerard Albert III is back in Broward, where he grew up, after reporting on crime and public safety in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and West Palm Beach. Albert is a former WLRN intern who graduated from Florida International University.
Katie Lepri Cohen is WLRN's engagement editor. She previously covered city government and corruption, environment and the arts at the Miami Herald. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Florida International University.