The Black Heritage Society and the City of Houston have announced that Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Heavyweight Champion George Foreman will join the 42nd Annual “Original” Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade as the Grand Marshal. The downtown celebration will take place on Monday, January 20, 2020 starting at Smith and Lamar streets, from 10 a.m. to noon.
“As a Texas native, and having grown up right here in Houston, it’s an honor and privilege to be named the Grand Marshal of The Original MLK Day Parade,” said Foreman.
He was born in Marshall, Texas, but spent his childhood growing up in Houston’s Fifth Ward. He started the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in northeast Houston in 1980, where he continues to serve as an ordained minister. Several years later, Foreman founded the George Foreman Youth and Community Center (GYFC), using athletics to keep local kids off the street and out of trouble. For over 30 years, GFYC has been a beacon of hope in Houston serving the underprivileged and helping kids become champions in the ring and in life.
During his boxing career, Foreman earned two heavyweight titles — the first in 1973 in a historical match against Joe Frazier. His second heavyweight title was earned in 1994 against Michael Moorer, where Foreman made boxing history again as the oldest world heavyweight champion at the age of 45.
Today, he is a globally-recognized entrepreneur, having built the Foreman brand to new heights with an array of popular products.
“George is a Houston icon. His commitment to the Houston community matched with his ability to persevere embody the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in the release. “I am excited the champ said yes. We could not think of a better Grand Marshal for this historic event.”
The Original MLK Day Parade was the very first MLK Day Parade held in the nation after being sanctioned by the King family in 1978 in Houston.
The 42nd annual celebration will showcase a variety of marching bands, decorated floats, dance teams, military and ROTC groups, first responders, city and county officials, VIP guest appearances and notable organizations from around the world. Sponsors include Radio One Houston, AT&T, HEB, United Airlines and more. The Mayor’s Drum Major Award will be presented again to one participating band, recognizing outstanding performance and originality. Immediately following the parade, the celebration will move to Sam Houston Park (1000 Bagby St.) for the 4th Annual MLK, Jr. Taste of Houston festival. The family-friendly experience is an upbeat blend of popular cuisines and desserts, artwork, kid-friendly activities and live musical performances.
Attendance for both events will be free to the general public.
For more information, please call 713-236-1700 or visit the official website at www.blackheritagesociety.org.