LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) This weekend, Lexington will play host to multiple parades, one honoring Confederate war leaders, the other a civil rights icon.
For 17 years, the Sons of Confederate Veterans held their Lee-Jackson day parade on Saturday. This year, they moved it to Sunday after a different group put in a request for a Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans say the other group, CARE Rockbridge, tried to block their event by choosing the date they typically reserve. In November, city council asked groups to schedule their events on different days. Robin LeBlanc helped organize the new Martin Luther King Jr. parade. She says they were frustrated that in the past, people from outside the area came to demonstrate what she believes are differing values.
Robin LeBlanc, Rockbridge CARES, said, “There are people who think that the town should - its story should've finished at the end of the Civil War, but that's 160 years ago.”
Brandon Dorsey, Sons of Confederate Veterans, said, “When you actively try to squash someone else's opinion and speech by scheduling your stuff overtop of it, you're not allowing for open dialogue.”
Sons of Confederate veterans argue that they also represent the local community. Either way, both parades will be going on this weekend.
Saturday, the MLK march will begin at 10, and Sunday, the Lee-Jackson ceremonies will begin at 2.