As anyone with a calendar and/or a television set knows, Jan. 20 was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day throughout the nation. Former U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law as a way to commemorate the civil rights leader, but the holiday wasn’t officially observed by all 50 states in the nation until 2000. It is, then a fairly new holiday in the U.S.
While King’s birthday was Jan. 15, the holiday falls on the the third Monday every January. MLK Day has taken some time to catch on in Benton, but the city does host an annual parade in downtown Benton which has grown quite nicely as of late. The first MLK Day parade in the city was observed just a few years ago and featured (as memory serves) a few kids carrying signs, a float and a vehicle or two.
The parade this year featured an MLK-themed float, politicians waving signs and the Benton High School Marching Band. The parade was over in about 15 minutes, but its getting larger every year and it’s probably safe to assume it will continue to grow.
In addition to the parade, Benton Matters — a civic improvement committee affiliated with the city and the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce — hosted its second cleanup at the Ralph Bunche Community in Benton. Benton Matters cleans up at least one area of town per quarter and spent Monday clearing brush and removing dead trees at the community’s cemetery, taking care of trash and yard debris around the area and generally going where needed for a couple of hours.
That cleanup is set to become an annual event. Click here to find out more about Benton Matters.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.