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Crossroads residents honor MLK Day (w/ video)

By JR Ortega
Jan. 20, 2014 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 20, 2014 at 7:21 p.m.

Members of the Western Star Masonic Lodge 11 lead the march for Martin Luther King Jr. Day as those who came to observe the anniversary of King's birth marched down Crestwood Drive to Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, where a celebration was held.

Know your history

• In January 1989, the Women in Partnership for Progress turned to Victoria City Council to rename North Street to Martin Luther King Jr. The proposal did not pass.

• In April 1989, the same group tried renaming Delmar Drive. This proposal was also rejected.Prior to trying to rename the streets, in 1988, members of the Friendly Neighborhood Council renamed the Friendly Neighborhood Park, at the corner of Callis Street and Pleasant Green Drive, the Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

• Then, in 1992, a push on behalf of the City Council to rename Victoria's federal building to Martin Luther King Jr. was successful.

source: Advocate archives

Janice Johnson marched with passion down Crestwood Drive as the Monday morning fog lifted like a veil.

With her grandson, Kyri Abram, by her side, the 61-year-old Victoria woman finally saw what Martin Luther King Jr. only lived long enough to envision - unity.

Kyri, 11, walked side-by-side with whites and blacks, the young and the old, just like King would have wanted.

At the Victoria Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march and celebration Monday, Kyri understood the message.

"He (King) gave his life for us to help us out," said Kyri, who was visiting from Killeen. "He was trying to get the whites and blacks together."

About 200 people walked three blocks of Crestwood to Our Saviour's Lutheran Church for a service of worship and remembrance of King and local late physician Dr. Charles A. Dudley.

The walk is put on by the Victoria Old Landmark Committee.

The message of the struggle Martin Luther King Jr. and many others endured is one that needs to continue being taught and one that needs to be reaffirmed again and again, Johnson said.

"We've come a long way, but it's not over yet," she said.

The crowd marched as one.

"We shall overcome," the people sang in heartfelt praise. "Someday."

In that crowd was Tonika Bufford, a special education teacher at Shields Elementary School. She admitted, she does not know the struggle firsthand.

Still, she found it important to remember King's message and to pass along that message to her Sharksteppers hip-hop student dance group.

"If you don't know where you came from, how are you supposed to know where you're going," Bufford said.

Bufford saw the walk as a teachable moment for her children. After the celebration, she wanted to spend time debriefing to help answer any questions the children may have.

Those teachable moments are starting early for Braylynn Martin, 2.

Her mother, Florence Todd, of Port Lavaca, has attended the march for at least the past three years.

She wants to make the march and celebration a family tradition.

"I think it's very important to remind people what MLK went through," she said. "It's important to always remember that so many had to struggle."

This is the third year Victoria lawyer G.P. Hardy has spoken about reaching equality.

His speech solicited amens from the crowd as it reached his listeners.

"Equality should be as common as the air we breathe," he said.

In his speech, he talked about how Martin Luther King Jr. Day is to be celebrated by not only blacks but everyone.

"He loved us all," he said.

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