July 18th, 2019

mlk march 2018Participants prepare to start marching during last year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day march. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Martin Luther King Jr. Day is rapidly approaching and to help commemorate King’s work, the Black History Committee in Liberal will be hosting its annual march. 

This year’s march will start at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21 at Liberal Memorial Library and will end at the Mahuron Park building at 8th Street and Calvert. After the march there will be refreshments for everyone and information booths people will be able to visit.

“Dr. King played a pivotal role in ending segregation against African-Americans in the U.S. and in creating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Coordinator Beverly Williams said. “He did all that not only for African-Americans but for all people whether they were black, white, whatever, it was about helping all people. He sacrificed his life for those freedoms. I would encourage everyone who enjoys their freedoms to come out and march with us and show solidarity and support for the right to vote, the right for freedom and the right to be in the U.S. because we took for granted with Dr. King giving his life for our freedoms and with this current administration, it feels like a lot of those freedoms are close to being taken away and we're almost back to where we were in the 1960s and we're not moving forward, or at least that's how it feels to me. I would just encourage everyone to come out and participate in something Dr. King started and ultimately lost his life for.”

Williams added she feels the same drive each year for the march and added she hopes people in the community also feel that same drive. 

“I was on the Juneteenth committee for many years and I've been working with this for many years, and my favorite thing and my drive with all this is if someone doesn't do it, it won't get done,” Williams said. “We don't have enough young people in the community who really know the truth and truly care about what Dr. King did and what happened because they've never really had to fight for their basic freedoms and they've always had the opportunity to go in the front doors of places and sit where they wanted and go to whatever schools they wanted – they've never really known that struggle. As long as we can keep this going and keep educating about everything Dr. King did, maybe someone will step up and say 'Wow, that's what all this is about' because reading about Dr. King did and President Kennedy did, especially with the Voting Rights Act. It's sunk into my head how the Voting Rights Act was enacted in 1965 and I was about 16 years old at that time, so I was about to have the right to vote and I didn't know my parents had never had the right to vote. We all lived in our own neighborhoods and for the longest time I didn't know my parents hadn't had the right to vote until then. Everything Dr. King fought for and ultimately died for has allowed be to live my life the way I do now.”

With last year’s march being successful, Williams said she hopes to see the same thing happen with this year’s event. 

“Last year was pretty successful, we had more people out there marching that we had seen the past couple years before that, and that included a lot of students from the college came out and marched with us,” Williams said. “We have people who have been there every year we've done this and of course we've lost a few people throughout the years. But I would say last year was very successful. This year we actually started planning a little late because of the holidays going on and other projects and other things we were all dealing with. I'm just looking forward to seeing the turnout and for people to really learn. Ivanhoe Love Jr. will be our speaker that afternoon and I'm looking forward to him speaking on what's going on today in Liberal and seeing everyone who turns out. It will be great to see all the unity. Dr. King marched and believed in marching and believed in non-violence. He felt it was more powerful to have a peaceful group of people all united to one accord in order to get things done than one person by themselves.”

Everyone in the community is invited and encouraged to participate in this year’s march. 

“All are welcome to attend and we picked the time we did because a lot of people are getting off work around then and they wouldn't have to take any real time off of work,” Williams said. “This march every year shows unity and it marks how Dr. King died while working so hard to help all people and we can't take that for granted and should never let any of the work he did go unnoticed. He dedicated himself to that cause and we should all show solidarity toward what he did.”

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