The Ellis County African American Hall of Fame is prepared to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in grand style.

For starters, Dr. Jamal Rasheed, the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame executive director, said the second annual Unity Parade is scheduled for Jan. 21.

“There will be quite a few more floats this year than last year,” Rasheed said. “I don’t have a projection, but we will be twice as large as last year. In previous years it was just people from Waxahachie. Now, we’ve incorporated people within the county.”

If an individual, business or organization is interested in participating in the parade, registration will be open at the event. The line-up is at Turner Pre-Kindergarten School at noon, which is also the time and place to register on the day of the parade.

The Unity Parade will begin at the campus, located at 614 N. Getzendaner St., and will proceed north to Peters Street and continue south on Wyatt Street.

The final destination is the Freeman Memorial Plaza and Ellis County African American Hall of Fame, located at 441 East Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

The Unity Parade is sponsored by the City of Waxahachie, the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame and the Bethsaida Lodge No. 168 PHA of Waxahachie.

Rasheed also invites Ellis County students to participate in the essay and oratorical contest on Jan. 19.

Students must bring three copies of original work typed in Times New Roman 12-point font, and must have a minimum of 250 words.

Students will be judged on speech, oratory delivery and appearance.

The contest is divided into three categories, in which, elementary grades will comprise of third through fifth graders, secondary grades of sixth through eighth and high school with students in ninth through 12th-grade.

The essay prompt is: Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream. What is your vision to change the world and make it a better place?

The speech should begin with “I have a vision” and end with “I have a vision.”

Peter Johnson, who is featured on the civil rights wall at the ECAAHF, will serve as one of four judges.

Registration will take place at the event from 12 p.m.— 2 p.m. at the Nicholas P. Sims Library in the Lyceum on the second floor.

The competition will begin at 2 p.m. and winners will be acknowledged with medals, certificates and $25 Visa gift cards.

For more information, contact Felecia Warner, the museum secretary, at 972-571-2620.