DALLAS - Across the nation and here in North Texas parades and events celebrated the life and legacy of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
But the celebration this year is against the backdrop of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. For many, there is uncertainty about whether “Make America Great Again” includes the struggles of all people for equality.
High schoolers Bethany Dawkins and Miles Delgado spent the day at Dallas Life Foundation making pancakes for homeless children.
“Today was really good to see how we could interact with the children on like a deeper level and how we can impact them,” Dawkins said.
Delgado said he was impacted by his grandmother’s actions through the civil rights era.
“Don’t go down a violent path is what I want to stay clear of. That and stay focused on your everyday goals,” he said.
Mary Alice Daniels, Delgado’s grandmother, spent the day playing bridge with friends at the Hearts and Diamonds Bridge Club. But in 1963 she became the first professional black woman hired at LTV, eventually working on fighter jets with top secret clearance in an environment of suspicion and resistance.
“They thought maybe the NAACP had sent me there to work,” she laughed. “It was different. I’d never worked in a situation like there before.”
Now she’s optimistic that what Dr. King fought for and how he fought is not forgotten.
“That they will continue and that there will be some minds that will be changed as President-Elect Trump takes office,” she said.
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson said despite the war of words between Congressman John Lewis, who said he didn’t see Trump’s election as legitimate because of Russian interference, and Trump, who calls Lewis all talk, “he has been elected as our president.”
“I intend to try to work with him. Maybe we can sensitize him on some issues,” she said.
Trump met with the sons of Dr. King for the national holiday.
“Celebrate Martin Luther King Day and all of the many wonderful things that he stood for. Honor him for being the great man that he was!” Trump tweeted.
Dr. King’s son downplayed the back and forth between Trump and Lewis, cautioning people not to lose focus of the dream.
“Things get said on both sides in the heat of emotion and at some point this nation we've got to move forward. I mean people are literally dying. We need to be talking about how we're gonna feed people. How do we clothe people? How do we create the best education system? That’s what we need to be focused on,” Martin Luther King, III said.