The annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and program began and ended at Emmanuel Church of God in Christ adjacent to Keller Intermediate School the afternoon of January 21, the anniversary of MLK’s birthday.
The highlight of the program and new this year was Stephanie Gaskins and her daughter, 14-year-old Kelsey Wilcox, reciting an excerpt of MLK’s last public speech before he was shot in 1968.
In the speech, known as “the mountaintop” speech, MLK talks of when he was stabbed by a woman at a book signing in Harlem 10 years earlier and how the doctors told him the knife came so close to a critical artery, had he sneezed he would have perished in the attack.
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place,” said Ms. Gaskins, a high school teacher and tutor with the new Keller Outreach Ministry, which offers free tutoring to students at St. James Baptist Church.
For video from the parade and program, click here.
“But I’m not concerned about that now,” she continued. “I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything, I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
The parade included fire department and ambulance units, a few classic cars like the 1970 Buick Wildcat driven by former school board member Paul Raulerson with daughter and schools superintendent Sherrie Raulerson; and a number of residents carrying signs and banners paying tribute to the slain civil rights leaders.
A hot dog lunch was served following the parade as public officials and others shared their reflections on the MLK’s life.
“We need to be able to join hands, no matter our color, race or political affiliation. We need to join hands and stop asking why, and start asking why not?” said County Commissioner James Croft. “Where there is no vision, the people will perish. My prayer is that the United States of America always have a people with vision.”
Fellow commissioner Jimmy Anderson followed Mr. Croft with an MLK quote, one of his favorite’s he said has aided him as a man and a politician — “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in a moment of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in the times of challenge and controversy.”
To see more photos from the event, and order prints, click here.