Organizers Say Original Dallas MLK Parade Forced to the Curb

Organizers of the original Dallas Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade claim their event has been unfairly forced to the curb as the city plans a single 2016 parade.

NBC 5 will broadcast the 2016 parade live on Monday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m.

But in recent years there have been two MLK holiday parades on different days in Dallas, the original sponsored by the Elite News.

Darryl Blair with the newspaper said Tuesday the parade his father started 30 years ago was refused a city permit this year.

"We've been robbed. The Elite News and the Blair family has been robbed," he said.

Blair admits the city was owed around $33,000 for security and other expenses from last year's Elite News parade, but he claims the city changed deadlines to pay and receive a new permit.

"All my paperwork from the city, every contract, everything we got, none of that is mentioned in there, that we have a time line. All we knew is that the bill needs to be paid before they would issue another permit," Blair said.

Blair attended at City Hall press conference Tuesday to promote the single parade and considered raising his complaints publicly until organizers of the single parade praised his father and the past Elite News events.

Presiding at the press conference was Cheryl Smith, publisher of competing publications I Messenger, Texas Metro News and The Garland Journal.

"It would be the height of hypocrisy not to recognize the honorable William Blair," Smith said.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings took the podium and said the single parade is a moment of unity for Dallas that honors King.

"To face the challenges we must face, we must come together to be able to do that. So this unification of one parade is a symbol for a man who stood for unity," Rawlings said.

And the mayor defended city officials who granted just one parade permit.

"There was a procedure to go through, money needed to be paid, dates needed to be made and we took the ones that qualified," Rawlings said.

Blair said he may still have a parade at the same time as the other one on Monday.

"We're having a protest parade," Blair said.

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