36th Annual Black History Parade rolls through Monroe

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The 36th Annual Black History Parade was held Saturday morning in Monroe.

Courtesy: KNOE 8 News

This year's theme was "Freedom is never given. It is won."

"It's about togetherness, family and love," says parade participant, Jerica Buckley. "It's about being free."

A majority of the 70-plus floats that rolled down Washington and Desiard Streets were printed with the saying.

Floyd Jones, Jr. says he has been to almost every Black History Parade in Monroe, and says it's a perfect time to learn what the month of February is all about.

"Blacks need to know their history. A lot of them really don't know their history, and this is a good time to come out and talk to people about their history," Jones says.

Today's event tried to change that. Parade-goers young and old came out to celebrate prominent African-Americans of the past.

"There have been so many achievers that have done so much to make us who we are today," says Pastor Ruth Collins Brown from St. Jude Baptist Church.

Another lesson for kids during today's parade was dental hygiene.

During today's parade, Monroe's Parks and Recreation Department and the city's youth coordinator chose to celebrate National Children's Dental Health Month. With donations from area dentists and Monroe's Renaissance Committee, toothpaste, brushes and floss were handed out to kids.

"It's very important that kids maintain a healthy smile," says Parks and Recreation Director, Bruce Watson. "Also, the importance of seeing a dentist on a regular basis so you can maintain clean gum health, and make sure kids maintain a bright smile when they go around their fellow peers."

The city's next youth-based project is a city cleanup next month.