MLK All the Way

Over 10,000 folks came out to manifest Dr. King's vision

In memory of the man who marched in Selma, and across the racial divide in America, thousands marched in Austin's annual MLK Celebration
In memory of the man who marched in Selma, and across the racial divide in America, thousands marched in Austin's annual MLK Celebration (photo by John Anderson)

Progressives rubbed shoulders with more traditional churchy-types, and colors, faiths, and generations put differences aside as the sun shone brightly on Austin's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade and festival, all to honor the man who had a dream.

An estimated 10,000 people came together on MLK day, holding banners, blowing horns, lifting voices in song, populating community booths, jamming out to funk tunes, and enjoying a brilliant and crisp Austin day, which began at 9am at the University of Texas' MLK statue. Once amassed, the parade began, proceeding to the State Capitol building for some speechifying. The crowd then headed east for the festival held annually at Huston-Tillotson University.

Austin Chronicle photographer John Anderson kept apace and captured in a photo gallery the spirit Dr. King's dream.

The fest boasted the requisite funnel cake and BBQ booths, along with reps from myriad local causes and community groups, from churches to labor unions, anti-war and anti-death penalty activists, to schools and cookie-bearing Girl Scouts. This coming-together seemed to echo another coalescence – that the celebration fell on the same day as the second inauguration of America's first African-American president.

"It was one of those once in a million years events, a harmonic convergence," chirped Dr. Carol Adams-Means, Associate Professor of Communication at H-T University and one of the many H-T staff involved in the Austin Area Heritage Council's annual MLK Celebration. "Look, we've come full circle, from a man like MLK, who had to break the chains and challenge the status quo to a country that has shown its conviction in reelecting Obama. America wants the world to know it's ready for change.

"There must be change agents at these increments of history," continued Adams-Means. "A person who helps society advance. Let's put it this way: A pearl doesn't happen if it doesn't have an irritant in the shell!"

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Community
Austin Family & Kids' Activities in the Time of Coronavirus
Family Activities in the Time of Coronavirus
Get creative and cure cabin fever

Katherine McNevins, March 16, 2020

Austin Donation and Volunteer Opportunities During Coronavirus Outbreak
COVID-19 Community Opportunities
Ways to help your neighbor during this trying time

Katherine McNevins, March 16, 2020

More by Kate X Messer
LBJ Library at 50: All the Cake
LBJ Library at 50: All the Cake
Getting some free cake on LBJ's birthday is a rich tradition

Aug. 26, 2021

The Gay Place: It's Aliiive!
It's Aliiive!
You can't keep a Gay Place down; just ask Sarah Marloff

Jan. 20, 2016


Community, MLK Celebration, Huston-Tillotson, Austin Area Heritage Council, Martin Luther King, march, procession, parade, festival

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle