The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in Washington was recently changed from April 1 to April 8 by Marion Barry and other Ward 8 council members, according to The Washington Post.
The Post reported that Barry canceled plans to move the parade from mid-January to April 1, April Fool’s Day, calling the date change "silly," "crazy" and "unacceptable."
Those involved in the parade planning chose April 1 after they learned the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade was scheduled for April 8. Linda Greene, Barry spokesman said, "we [Barry and the committee members] all agreed to go with April 1."
However Barry denied approving April 1, saying an aide had tentatively chose the date without having “the whole picture.”
The parade, first held in Southeast Washington in 1979, is traditionally hosted in mid-January by Ward 8 council members, but was moved to April to avoid frigid weather.
The parade will now be held on April 8 and begin at 2 p.m., so it will not conflict with the cherry blossom parade that starts at 10 a.m. April 8 is five days after the anniversary of King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to striking Memphis sanitation workers in 1968 and just four days after the anniversary of his assassination.
Howard University students have different views on the date change. Some think the weather issue is not a valid reason for moving the parade to April.
"[Martin Luther King, Jr.], a man of that decor should be honored on his holiday weekend. There should be no excuse why you would push anything back that honors this man," said Marquase Lovings, a senior majoring in broadcast journalism.
"I don’t understand why they would change the date from January, on account of cold weather," said Abdul Ali Abdurrahman, a sophomore majoring in English. "The day is such an important observance. We diminish King’s legacy by making convenience our number one priority."
Other students are concerned with the seemingly little thought that went into planning the parade.
"The changing of the dates in general is not so much an issue. However, waiting until the last minute to change them seems to be disrespectful to the memory of Dr. King," said Akintoye Omoyeni, a senior majoring in African-American studies.