Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg battle of bands links King, Obama

ST. PETERSBURG

The timing of this year's annual battle of the bands wasn't lost on spectators at Tropicana Field on Sunday night.

Just two days before the inauguration of the nation's first black president, marching bands from historically black colleges converged to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 24th annual MLK Jr. Drum Major for Justice Battle of the Bands and Drumline Extravaganza.

"The script couldn't have been written better," said emcee Sevell Brown.

This year's theme, "King to Obama, the Dreamer and the Dream," illustrates the connection between two very important black men in American history, said Brown, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Florida chapter.

Decked out in black and gold, the 180-member strong Mighty Hornets from Alabama State University got the show rolling with a musical skit that paid homage to Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama.

It also poked a little fun at the outgoing president.

The band purposely spelled Bush wrong, with an upside down U and H.

"That's because Bush messed up everything," said the band leader, eliciting laughter and cheers from the crowd.

About 10,000 people showed up to see 11 bands compete, including the Bethune-Cookman University Marching Wildcats and the South Carolina State University Marching 101 Band. The event serves as an unofficial kickoff for today's parade, traditionally one of the largest in the nation to honor the slain civil rights leader.

The battle of the bands is "the type of event that brings everyone together," said Boca Ciega High School sophomore Ackera Barnes, 16.

Kind of like King's message, Barnes said.

The significance of this year's MLK Jr. festivities is even more profound as Obama heads to the White House, said fellow Boca Ciega sophomore Doneisha Bowens.

"This is history," said Bowens, 15. "I would never have thought I'd live to see this day come."

Sporting an Obama cap, St. Petersburg resident Franklin Bryant reflected on the connection between King and Obama while the Yellow Jackets marching band from Howard Blake High School in Tampa took to the field.

"The dream of Martin Luther King has come full circle," he said.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4162.

St. Petersburg battle of bands links King, Obama 01/18/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 19, 2009 3:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards

    Business

    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times

]

  3. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say

    Crime

    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.