Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Austin’s MLK March began at 9 AM Monday morning at the Martin Luther King statue on the University of Texas campus. Due to the mid-30 temperatures, my group decided to join the march at the Texas State Capitol grounds an hour later. The air was still cool then, but we were dressed warmly and felt comfortable in the sunshine.
Local TV anchor Quita Culpepper served as the master of ceremonies. She noted that this event was organized by the Austin Area Heritage Council. State Representative Dawna Dukes issued a call to action and urged all to vote. She also introduced local dignitaries, including State Senator Kirk Watson, Mayor Steve Adler, and several City Council members.
Inspiring gospel, blues, and rock selections were provided by the Huston-Tillotson University Concert Choir and other musicians. Sheila Raye Charles, a daughter of Ray Charles, sang towards the end of the program.
About 11:15 AM, we left the capitol grounds for the 1.5 mile march to Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin. We were led along 11th Street by the Manor High School Drum Line. Many marchers carried signs, including some for the upcoming presidential election.
The line of marchers stretched out for about a half-mile on 11th Street. Our group walked more-or-less in the middle of the pack. The unofficial estimate is that 1,000 people participated in this year’s MLK March.
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