Austin’s annual MLK March began at the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue on the University of Texas campus. Since the weather was a bit chilly, my friends and I decided to join up with the march at the Texas State Capitol. We arrived early, so we walked around the back of the building and watched as the marchers arrived at the Capitol grounds around 10:15 AM.
Local TV anchor Quita Culpepper served as master of ceremonies at the Capitol. Rev. Daryl Horton of Mt. Zion Baptist opened with prayer. He echoed Dr. King’s view that all hope is not lost and “only when it is dark enough you can see the stars.” Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, president of Huston-Tillotson University, reminded the crowd that Martin Luther King gave Americans courage to stand up for justice. She challenged us: “What do you do to honor Dr. King’s legacy?”
State Representative Dawna Dukes was joined at the podium by now-retired Representative Wilhelmina Delco. Dukes recognized elected officials in attendance, including State Senator Kirk Watson, Mayor Steve Adler, judges, and City Council members. She also thanked the members of the Austin Area Heritage Council, who had planned the event.
The program at the Capitol lasted about an hour. We left the Capitol grounds and walked along East 11th Street. I am terrible at crowd estimates, but I’m pretty sure there were more marchers than last year.
The March ended with a Community Festival on the center mall of the Huston-Tillotson University campus. In contrast to the field used in previous years, this new festival location had plenty of room for a large stage, food trucks, children’s activities, and tables/tents set up by various local organizations.
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