North Texans took time to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday.
In Dallas, despite temperatures on the chilly side, some very large crowds lined the streets for the annual MLK Day parade.
It was the 37th year for the march and parade through South Dallas, with thousands of people lining the route. The parade included floats, hundreds of students, marching bands and dance teams.
Other cities in North Texas also hosted events for MLK Day.
In Fort Worth, a parade that began in downtown ended with a rally in Sundance Square. The city also unveiled a plaque marking King's only visit to the city in 1959. In Denton, a celebration there began with a flag football game. There was also a parade in Grand Prairie on Monday morning. In Irving, volunteers used time today to serve others by helping clean the historic Bear Creek Cemetery where slaves were buried in the 1800's.
The legacy of King was also honored by a gathering of about 60 pastors in a special service at Friendship West Baptist Church in South Dallas.
The music was powerful and celebratory. But the upbeat mood was also tempered by the reality of progress yet to be made.
“By all socioeconomic metrics, blacks are at the bottom of all things good. We are at the top of all things bad,’ said Dr. Kevin Cosby of St. Stephens Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the keynote speaker at the event.
“The reason why it seems like every year talking about King, singing ‘We Shall Overcome,’ is because we don’t understand what racism is. Even black folk don’t understand what racism is … Racism is a power dynamic. It is not an acceptance dynamic.”
Bryan Carter, Senior Pastor of Concord Church in Dallas, is the president of the African American Pastor’s Coalition. He said lasting change starts with opportunity.
“Education, economic development, political engagement, we want to see Dallas be the best city it can be and making sure everyone has an opportunity,” Carter said.
Among the dignitaries in attendance — Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.
“There are so many things that we have to continue to do to work together in order for us to continue to be the community, the world that Dr. King dreamed,” Hall said.
Tangie Anderson, who attended the service, called the gathering very inspiring.
“Being a mom of six adult children, I wish all of them would have been here,” Anderson said.