An Estimated 100,000 Marchers in San Antonio Honor Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in One of Nation's Largest Events

PR Newswire

March attracts slain civil rights leader's son, Martin Luther King III

SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — San Antonio, home to one of the nation's largest marches commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr., once again showcased a remarkable turnout of participants for an annual event that began in 1978 with 50 individuals and that has now grown to attract more than 100,000 people annually.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120117/DC37275)

The 2012 City of San Antonio Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative March – a City-sponsored event for the past 25 years – honored the life and legacy of the slain civil rights leader with various events spanning a five-day period. One of the memorable highlights of the event was a keynote address by Martin Luther King, III, the eldest son of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King, who traveled to San Antonio to participate in the commemorative program that immediately followed the march on January 16.

"I wanted to be (in San Antonio) for this observance this year because this is certainly one of the largest in our nation…today, my wife and I are so honored to be here as we observe this 83rd birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.," said King shortly before his keynote address to thousands of attendees who crowded San Antonio's Pittman Sullivan Park where the commemorative program was held.

"My father's dream is not yet realized. He had a dream of freedom, justice and equality for all humankind. And, while we have accomplished many great things in our lives…we are not yet at the point when we can say the dream is fulfilled. But it's wonderful that every January, during the King holiday, we have the opportunity to start anew."

The City's commemoration concludes this evening with a guest lecture by Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of human rights activist Malik Al-Shabazz (widely known as Malcolm X) and Betty Shabazz, who will speak at Trinity University's MLK, Jr. Commemorative Lecture at 7 p.m. at the University's Laurie Auditorium.

"San Antonio was extremely proud and honored to welcome Martin Luther King, III and Ilyasah Shabazz to join in our city's annual commemoration honoring Dr. King. Their presence and the words they shared with thousands of people in San Antonio are reminders for all generations about the challenges our country has endured, the progress it has made and the work we must all continue to do," said San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

"San Antonio is a model city for the new face of America – a diverse, energetic city with both strong historical ties and a vision for future development, and having Mr. King and Ms. Shabazz celebrate Dr. King's legacy in San Antonio is a testament to that."

Starting in 1987, the City of San Antonio has celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. King with an annual City-sponsored march. The City's 25th Anniversary March honors his legacy with the theme "Journey Beyond the March…Live Beyond the Dream…"

"This year's City of San Antonio Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration has been both a momentous achievement in celebrating 25 years with the inclusion of Mr. King and Ms. Shabazz; and has also been a reminder of the progress we as a society have yet to achieve. As home to one of the nation's largest MLK, Jr. marches, the San Antonio community must work every day to be an example of Dr. King's legacy and teachings," said San Antonio District 2 Councilwoman Ivy R. Taylor.

Although the City this year celebrates the 25th anniversary of its City-sponsored event, the history of the local MLK, Jr. March goes back even further. The late Rev. Dr. Raymond "R.A." Callies, Sr., a San Antonio teacher, pastor and one of the founders of the San Antonio MLK, Jr. March, began leading processions in San Antonio honoring Dr. King's legacy soon after Dr. King's death on April 4, 1968, and worked tirelessly to have a statue of Dr. King erected. In 1978, approximately 50 local community members joined together and marched in honor of Dr. King.

The "Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial City-County Commission," now referred to as the "San Antonio Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission" or "MLK Commission," was established on April 3, 1986, by official act of the San Antonio City Council through City Resolution No. 86-15-19 under the leadership of then-Mayor Henry Cisneros. The MLK Commission is a volunteer organization. On January 19, 1987, chaired by Aaronetta Pierce, the Commission and the City of San Antonio held its first official Martin Luther King, Jr. March.

For more information visit http://www.sanantonio.gov/mlk/.

SOURCE City of San Antonio