• Crowds line the streets of uptown to celebrate legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

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    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte celebrated one of the most well-known and respected activists in American history, Martin Luther King Jr., Saturday morning.

    Thousands gathered in uptown for the annual parade, honoring King’s life and legacy.

    There were more than 100 marching bands, step teams and other organizations that took part in the event.

    Officials prep for MLK Jr. events]

    [PHOTOS: 2018 Charlotte MLK Parade]

    Among the bands, the crowds and the dozens of parade marchers was a resounding message of equality and freedom.

    The parade was an experience Michelle Eddyware wanted to share with her children.

    "I wanted to give my kids the experience,” Eddyware said. "Martin Luther King was someone who stood for our rights and I want them to be exposed to that."

    Charlotte has been celebrating King and his message from the Civil Rights Movement with the parade since 1981.

    Thousands in attendance saw signs, including one that read, “Celebrate the legacy, realize the dream.”

    People from several churches and organizations greeted parade-goers, along with law enforcement and city leaders, including Charlotte’s first African-American female mayor, Vi Lyles.

    The procession began at 10 a.m. and rolled along North Tryon Street from Ninth to Stonewall streets.

    WSOC-TV was a proud sponsor of the event and several members of the Channel 9 team marched in the parade.

    The parade celebrated different cultures, which is a facet that captures the spirit of what King encouraged.

    "I just wanted to come because I wanted to learn more about Martin Luther King Jr.,” Kennedy Eddyware said.

    After the parade, city leaders organized several service projects for families to take part in, called MLK call to service.

    Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have several events planned this weekend to celebrate the life and legacy of King.

    Learn more about MLK events here: http://www.wsoctv.com/mlk

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