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Richmond Hill readies for 6th annual MLK Jr. Parade
NAACP in MLK Parade
The Bryan County NAACP walking in a previous Richmond Hill MLK Jr. Day Parade. Photo provided by Elisha Boyd.

While many cities hosted events on Monday to observe the life of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Richmond Hill, in a bid to boost turnout, has scheduled its parade for this coming Saturday.

“This is the first year that it’s being held on the weekend after his birthday,” Elisha Boyd said, referring to Richmond Hill’s MLK Jr. Day Parade.

Boyd is the official chairperson of the Richmond Hill MLK Jr. Observance Committee, a small yet dedicated group of 15 members tasked with organizing this year’s parade.

Boyd explained that the reasoning beyond shifting the parade date to Saturday was down to input from locals who said they wouldn’t be in town on Monday due to the long weekend off.

“The idea [to change the date] came as a suggestion by some community goers and so we were like, ‘okay, we can look at that’,” Boyd said.

With the date change, Boyd is hoping that the community will get behind the Richmond Hill MLK Jr. Day Parade–now in its sixth year—and show support for the dozens of volunteers and parade participants.

“We would love to see the community come out and support the efforts of our volunteers,” Boyd said.

How it all began

The concept of “community” is at the heart of the planning behind the MLK Jr. Day Parade this year. A native of Alabama, Boyd herself first started working with the parade committee in 2019, originally led by the non-profit organization Unity in the Community, co-founded by couple Craig and Sharon Butts

Mayor Russ Carpenter was very supportive of the initiative to honor Dr. King locally, according to Boyd. 

“He thought it would be a great addition to the city,” Boyd said.

And so Boyd and her husband Daniel, a senior pastor at Emmanuel Christian Church, officially began their work with the parade.

“We thought it would be a great opportunity to bring this parade to the community because Dr. King [himself] spent a lot of time in this area, especially the Midway area,” Boyd said, referencing Dr. King’s visits and meetings at Dorchester Academy, a historic all-Black school in Midway, during his lifetime.

“And {to] also to try and help bring our community together even more.”

Spreading the message

Since moving from Alabama, Elisha and Daniel Boyd have lived in Richmond Hill since 2006, sharing two children and three grandchildren. They both believe that Dr. King’s message should be remembered, especially by the younger generation.

“It means a lot to me because I have children. I have grandchildren growing up in this world. It’s important for them to know that they matter–no matter the color of their skin,” Elisha Boyd said.

Daniel agrees, adding that Dr. King’s fight for racial equality shouldn’t be taken for granted by anyone.

“Since we’ve been in the Richmond Hill area, one of the things we’ve wanted to do is have a parade in Richmond Hill to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what he contributed to society,” Daniel Boyd said. “To help really celebrate his legacy and get people to not forget that he was so instrumental, and alive even today in the things we enjoy.”

“Because of what he did, and his contributions, we’re able to benefit in so many ways by bringing all people together.”

Looking ahead to the parade

The 2024 Richmond Hill MLK Jr. Day Parade will be on Saturday, Jan. 20th at 10 a.m. Pembroke Mayor Pro-Tem Johnnie Miller is grand marshal.

The route will start on Frances Meeks Way–similar to the Richmond Hill Christmas Parade, according to Elisha Boyd.

The theme chosen for this year’s parade is “Keeping the Dream Alive, We’re Better Together.”

Mayor Russ Carpenter, who will also be in attendance, is hopeful that the parade’s message of unity will be on display this Saturday.

“Events like the MLK Jr. Day Parade are community builders. We have people from different walks of life all coming together,” Carpenter said.

For more information on the 2024 RH MLK Parade, visit or send an email at

city officials and grand marshal 2021
Mayor Russ Carpenter (second from left) walking in the 2021 Richmond Hill MLK Jr. Day Parade. Photo provided by Elisha Boyd.
emmanuel christian church (MLK Parade)
Members of Emmanuel Christian Church walking in a past edition of the Richmond Hill MLK Jr. Day Parade. Photo provided by Elisha Boyd.
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