A man who emerged from a military career to establish one of the country’s largest observances for a peaceful warrior has died. Larry Grant, founder of Los Angeles’ annual parade to honor Martin Luther King, Junior, was 86 years old when he died in Los Angeles.
Like so many black Angelenos, Larry Grant was a native Texan. After 21 years as a finance officer in the US Army, Grant became an executive at various Southland financial institutions including Security Pacific, City National and Pacific Coast banks.
Three years before the federal government established a national holiday in Martin Luther King’s honor, Grant’s interest in promoting the ideals of the nonviolent civil rights leader prompted him to launch a parade and other events every January – first in San Diego, then in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. All three parades continue, supported in part by a non-profit Grant established.
Marching bands and drill teams, politicians and equestrian units and groups as varied as Korean folkloric dancers and Hare Krishna devotees have participated over its 26-year history in L.A. So has Larry Grant every mid-January, including the most recent one, in which he rode in a vintage convertible along the parade route on King and Crenshaw Boulevards in South L.A.