In light of inauguration, MLK Jr. march carries special meaning
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Thousands started Monday by celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy, gathering at the University of Texas for the annual Community March event.
The march starts at the MLK statue at UT and goes to the Capitol, followed by a celebration at Huston-Tillotson University.
While the march takes the same route every year, former Austin Police Chief Cathy Ellison noticed the crowd at UT was smaller than in past years.
"I'm just speculating it’s because they're watching the inauguration,” she said. “I considered that too.”
Indeed, the man who led the Civil Rights movement isn't the only man the group was celebrating--President Obama was sworn in for a second term in Washington D.C. Monday morning.
"If I could split myself into two people, I'd like to be both places, but since I'm not in Washington, I'm here in Austin and I'm delighted to be here," participant Johnnie Overton said.
However, without MLK Jr., Monday’s inauguration may have never happened.
"He laid the groundwork, he paved the roadway for us, so we celebrate him," Ellison said.
Whether in D.C. or in Austin, many agreed it was a proud day to be American.
"It's a good day to be alive and a good day to be free, and I realize the dues that we paid to get us to where we are, not only as individuals, and not just as a city, but as a country as a whole," participant Vance Redix said.
Ronald Reagan signed a bill in 1983 to create a national holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr.
Austin began celebrating his birthday that year, however, the holiday was observed nationally for the first time in 1986.