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Residents celebrate leader's work
Carrying a large poster-sized image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Chappell led Brunswick's celebration of the fallen civil rights leader's birthday for the tenth time Monday.

"Brother King did a lot for a lot of people," Chappell said. "He gave up his life, really."

He marched with King in Savannah two years before his death and doesn't want King's legacy to fall on deaf ears. He wants the next generation of leaders to keep King's dream alive.

"I didn't know what I was marching for," Chappell said, thinking back to the Savannah marches. "Now all these years later, we're here and I understand the meaning now."

Onlookers lined the sidewalks of downtown Brunswick watching as cars, trucks and floats adorned with festive decorations and King's likeness paid tribute to the life of the activist who was assassinated in April 1968. Beginning in Mary Ross Waterfront Park winding through downtown to end at Selden Park, the parade served as the city's celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, always observed the third Monday in January.

Some drew a comparison between the celebration of King's work and the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, the country's first black commander-in-chief.

"If it wasn't for him, Obama wouldn't be able to be president," said 11-year-old De'Aundre Frazier.

As Sara Green took in the parade from a sidewalk on Newcastle Street, she hoped the meaning of the day would sink in for her 7-year-old son, Zachary.

A teacher at Christian Montessori School, Green educates her students about the civil rights movement and King's life. She wants the message to resonate with her son.

"We spent the morning talking about Martin Luther King and his contributions to society," Green said.

Nearby, Kinjitay Elps, 12, holding a sign reading "We Love You Dr. King," recalled what he had learned about the civil rights leader in the weeks before and admired his willingness to stand up for equal rights.

"Black and white, he made them come together," Kinjitay said. "It's important to me personally because he gave us freedom. He spoke up for us."

Kendric Adams, 11, also chimed in.

"If Martin Luther King hadn't spoken up for us, we would be separated by race," Kendric said noting that he wouldn't be able to have friends of different races if not for King's contributions.

The parade was part of a weekend of festivities that began with a unity breakfast Friday.

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