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The Latest: Thousands line South LA streets for parade
The Associated Press
Jan. 19, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The latest on rallies, marches and speeches honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (all times local):
Thousands of people lined the streets of South Los Angeles for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade that is among the nation's biggest celebrations of the holiday.
Monday's 31st annual Kingdom Day Parade down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard was themed "Our Work Is Not Yet Done."
It included a replica of the bus ridden by Rosa Parks in Alabama in 1955, cheerleaders, marching bands and a group of young percussionists called DWA, or Drummers With Attitude. One float showed a black and a brown fist with broken shackles on each to represent the union between black and Latino residents in Los Angeles.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, police Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell all took part in the parade.
A group of demonstrators caused the shutdown of one direction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in a police-brutality protest tied to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Members of the group stopped vehicles in all the westbound lanes about 4 p.m. Monday. They chained themselves and the cars together to form a line across the bridge and laid signs reading "BLACK HEALTH MATTERS" across the road.
Traffic was blocked for travelers heading into San Francisco from the East Bay as the holiday weekend was ending.
About 30 minutes later, California Highway Patrol officers were pulling about a dozen protesters from cars and pulling their cars to the side of the road. Traffic soon began slowly moving again.
Mia Birdsong, a spokeswoman for the protesters, tells the San Francisco Chronicle they were from a group called Black.Seed, an offshoot of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The St. Paul, Minnesota, Police Department has put an officer on leave while it investigates allegations that he made a post on Facebook urging drivers to run over protesters who rallied against the police killings of two black men in the Twin Cities last year.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (http://bit.ly/1n6WByS) that the social media message told people how to avoid being charged with a crime if they struck someone during the Martin Luther King Day march and rally Monday on a bridge linking St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Mayor Chris Coleman issued a statement saying he was "outraged and disgusted" and had directed officials to investigate.
The police department says in a statement that an active investigation is underway.
Hundreds of people packed into a New York City church as comedian Chris Rock, actor Michael B. Jordan and others performed historic speeches in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Monday's event at the Riverside Church in Manhattan was meant to celebrate King's legacy and provide a discussion on how to continue his message in today's climate.
Organizer Shawn Dove says the event was meant to "ignite" the audience, which he said was "hungry" for change.
King delivered a sermon expressing his views opposing the Vietnam War at the Manhattan church in 1967. Composer and Tony winner Lin Manuel Miranda recited a portion of the speech at Monday's event.
The event also included musical performances and a panel discussion with artists and community activists.
Dozens of dirt bike and all-terrain vehicle riders are swamping major South Florida roads for the second Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in a row.
Police in Miami-Dade and Broward counties say they're better prepared for the group than last year, when riders caused major traffic jams. Authorities have said this week that they will keep their distance as long as the riders don't commit serious crimes or ride too dangerously.
Television helicopter video Monday showed large groups of riders on highways such as Interstate 95 popping wheelies and doing other stunts amid fairly light holiday traffic. Police did not immediately report any arrests.
Organizers of the event have said it is part of an anti-violence campaign called "bikes up, guns down."
Thousands of Texans took to the streets Monday for marches, speeches and volunteer efforts to remember slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on the federal holiday in his name.
Organizers planned for more than 200,000 people for the annual MLK march in San Antonio, billed as one of the largest in the country with adults and children walking the nearly 3 mile route together. Participants carried signs, U.S. and Texas flags and linked arms in a show of support for communities working together.
San Antonio police did not immediately return a message Monday on number of participants in the march organized by the city's MLK Jr. Commission.
The history of the San Antonio MLK march goes back to mourning after King's 1968 assassination. The Rev. R.A. Callies Sr., a San Antonio pastor and teacher, began leading small processions honoring King's legacy shortly after the slaying, according to the MLK Jr. Commission website.
Those processions grew over the years, with the theme of Monday's march being "Uniting Communities to Advance Humanity."
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama performed double duty on the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
The Obamas assembled a garden bed and planted vegetable seeds at a District of Columbia elementary school in remembrance of the slain civil rights leader and to celebrate Mrs. Obama's anti-childhood obesity initiative.
The White House says the school has many students who come from military families, which is another of the first lady's causes.
The Obamas also helped stuff bags with books for needy children.
The White House says each bag included a copy of "Oh the Things You Can Do that are Good for You!" by Dr. Seuss.
Young people who participate in a White House mentoring program joined the Obamas. Volunteers from the AmeriCorps national service program also participated.
The chief civil rights organization in South Carolina has wrapped up its first King Day at the Dome rally after winning its long fight to have the Confederate flag removed from Statehouse grounds.
The rebel banner removed last summer after nine black churchgoers were killed in Charleston was only mentioned a few times Monday.
Frequent speaker Ronald Epps says the Statehouse finally feels like his capitol with the Confederate flag gone from the front lawn.
State NAACP President Lonnie Randolph says his group will keep fighting racially inequality. The theme of this year's rally was improving education.
Randolph says he is sure the Republican-dominated South Carolina Legislature will do something this year to make sure the NAACP returns to fight injustice on Martin Luther King Day in 2017.
All three Democratic presidential candidates are in South Carolina speaking at the state NAACP's rally on the holiday to commemorate civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
Hillary Clinton was the only candidate Monday to discuss at length the Confederate flag that was removed from the capitol grounds last summer. She says South Carolina had to choose between honoring King's legacy or the Confederacy and made the right choice.
Clinton also was the only person to mention the role of Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and the GOP-dominated Legislature in bringing down the rebel banner.
Bernie Sanders says King must be remembered as a dynamic figure who fought for the poor.
Martin O'Malley said King would be ashamed the county has made it harder to vote but easier to buy a gun.
An overflow crowd showed up at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro said this year marks the 50th anniversary of King's visit to Chicago to launch a campaign for fair housing.
Castro said King moved into an apartment on Chicago's west side and later described seeing "a daily battle against depression and hopelessness" as babies were attacked by rats and children wore clothes too thin to protect against the cold winter weather. Castro said protesters eventually got the Chicago real estate board to embrace housing laws that did not discriminate.
Across the street, at Ebenezer's older sanctuary where King preached, visitors prayed in wooden pews and listened to tapes of King speaking.
People across Michigan are honoring the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. with acts of service, including delivering bottled water to residents of Flint amid the city's drinking water crisis.
Monday is the 30th anniversary of the federal holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader. Volunteers plan to travel from the Detroit suburb of Dearborn to Flint to deliver more than 40,000 water bottles and water filters on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In Detroit, a historical marker is being dedicated at the site of WGPR-TV, the country's first black-owned and operated television station.
About 1,000 people have gathered under chilly and sunny skies at South Carolina's Statehouse to remember slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
For the past 17 years, civil rights leaders have used the holiday to argue for the removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse, but this summer, the flag was taken down after nine black church members were killed in Charleston.
There was more security this year than most other years because the three Democratic presidential candidates are attending.
The keynote speaker at a prayer breakfast briefly acknowledged the removal of the Confederate flag from the state's Capitol before talking at length about reducing the number of people in prisons.
Bishop James Walker opened the state NAACP's commemoration of the slain civil rights leader by thanking the group for putting pressure on state leaders since 2000 to remove the rebel banner from the Statehouse.
The NAACP then marched five blocks to the Statehouse with candidates Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders up front.