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L.A.'s MLK Day 2012 Parade May Be Biggest in U.S.

Echo Park Online's Eddie North-Hager will be chronicling it for his other website, Leimert Park Beat.

Update:  Click here to see Leimert Park Beat's coverage of the 2012 parade, including four videos of the action.

Earlier: Eddie North-Hager edits the blog Echo Park Online and also keeps his eye on the Crenshaw district on his site Leimert Park Beat. Leimert Park, of course, is where today's 27th annual Kingdom Day Parade parade ends.

According to the North-Hager's site, 70,000 people will line parade route, which begins at 11 a.m. on Normandie, heads down King, left on Crenshaw to Leimert Park Village.

Many say it's the biggest MLK Day celebration in the country.

Watch North-Hager's video of the 2011 parade here.

Stevie Wonder is expected, along with the LAUSD All City Honor Marching Band,  

President Ronald Reagan made King's birthday a national holiday in 1983, though it was not observed until 1986.

Patrick R. Cleary January 17, 2012 at 06:40 PM
This was my first experience at the Kingdom Day parade, and I was overwhelmed by the good feeling and positive spirit. Los Angeles has much to proud of in that there is more African American political leadership than ever before. During Martin Luther King's lifetime there were no blacks in the Fire Department, which made firemen a target of rioters in Watts in 1965. Now, Fire Chief Brian Cummings heads a predominantly African American leadership team. Councilman Herb Wesson will be the new City Council President. Mark Ridley-Thomas sits on the Board of Supervisors. Yet black unemployment is still at twice the level of whites, as it was during King's day. The recently established Black Worker Center in South L.A. held a recent forum to address this inequity (http://www.wavenewspapers.com/news/local/west-edition/LA-Black-workers-vent-about-discrimination-114239259.html). There is evidence of progress in education, however: graduation rates are improving for black students (nearly 60% graduate in four years), but at a rate of improvement of 1.4% compared to 5% for Latino students. Alas, there are threats to desegregation programs which provide 31,000 students with free transportation to better schools. The budget crunch jeopardizes a constitutional commitment to equal access to education. Too often, these complex challenges are summarized by the euphemism offered by Herb Wesson yesterday, "There's a lot of work left to do, but we're moving in the right direction."

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