THE DREAM LIVES ON IN ABILENE
Excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, delivered on Aug. 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Dr. King called for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights.
I have a dream today … I have a dream that one day
every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain
shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain,
and the crooked places will be made straight…And the
glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see
it together. This is our hope. This is the faith that I
go back to the South with. With this faith we will be
able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of
hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the
jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony
of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work
together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to
jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing
that we will be free one day.
By Loretta Fulton
Several hundred Abilenians of all races joined together Monday to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the nation’s foremost civil rights activist who was assassinated on April 3, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
The march across the MLK Jr. bridge on Abilene’s east side is held annually on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. King, a Baptist minister, was born Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, and the MLK Jr. holiday is held each year on the Monday closest to that date.
Monday’s event got under way with talks by several people, including Mayor Anthony Williams, Abilene’s first African-American mayor.
“I want to encourage you to do your part to help fulfill the dream,” Williams told the assembled crowd just before they set out on the march. “Let’s all work together to make Abilene better.”
Dustin Tatro, who is a DJ for KGNZ Christian radio station and organist at St. Paul United Methodist Church, offered a prayer: “Give us, God, the courage to always be warriors for justice,” he said.
Nelson Wilson and others praised the late Claudie Royals, who died in 2008, for being the prime mover behind the march. Before Royals got involved, separate functions were held each year to observe the holiday, Wilson said. Now, everyone comes together.
“Here we are today for this gathering,” he said.
Iziar Lankford, pastor of Southwest Drive Community United Methodist Church, also cited Royals’ efforts. Lankford prayed that all Abilenians would work together for a better city. And, then he ended his prayer in a way that is tradition among African-American ministers.
“Let us all say, ‘Amen,'” he implored.
And they did.