Marchers celebrate King's legacy

About fifty people gathered at Gale Park on Sunday to celebrate the memory of Martin Luther King. After a speech by Pastor Eld. H. Hoffman of the Abundant Life Mission Church, they embarked on the First Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial March.

The weather was perfect and the marchers energized. Armed with a bullhorn the marchers began singing and walking. They started with “We Shall Overcome” and ended with “Go Tell it on the Mountain” calling for freedom for the north of Howard community. The march began on Howard and circled the Gale Park area which is a notorious open air drug market.

Toni Duncan, who organized the march, is very active in the community. She moved to the neighborhood about three years ago and works hard to make the alderman and the police accountable for improving the quality of life in the north of Howard neighborhood. She is a frequent contributor to howardwatch.blogspot.com.

The marchers were both white and African-American. Some came by bus from the church, others were neighborhood residents. All of the marchers believed that one day King’s dream of all races living peacefully side by side could be realized. All of the marchers wanted peace for the neighborhood.

A police escort was provided by the 24th district and flyers had been distributed by the Rogers Park Community Council, the Howard Area Community Center, and the Heartland Café. This was truly a cohesive Rogers Park event. Toni tried to inform as many groups as possible to make the event a success and as diverse as possible.

After the march there was a reception at the Jamaican Jerk restaurant where coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies were served. March participants recalled Dr. King, his life, and his legacy.

One woman reflected on the day Dr. King was assassinated. She was at work on the west side of Chicago when word came to her boss that King had been shot. He told the workers to go home early. She didn’t understand why, but the next day when she was getting ready to leave for work, she could see the smoke rising from the buildings burning on Madison St. She remembered being told they should stock up on groceries because the stores were being burned and looted. She said people took baseball bats to white peoples’ cars. She will never forget the smoke rising over the west side.

Still she believes Dr. King’s dream can and must come true. She said that one day there will be peace and we will all live together as people, not as black or white or brown.

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