Tributes to Martin Luther King Jr. are being held across the country. In East Lubbock, plans for a new baseball complex are underway to honor Dr. King's memory. You may remember your vote approved the $1.6 million complex at East 19th & Zenith Ave. in last May's bond election.
Since the 50's, only one baseball field has accommodated East Lubbock players. But in just four years, the empty field will be turned into a new complex for the Martin Luther King Jr. Little League, a project that will continue to instill values in those who play here.
"We fight real hard to teach our kids that they all have a history and because of their history they'll have a future," explains, Stephanie Hill, MLK Little League Board Member. Discipline, structure and respect. These are the things Stephanie says the league has taught young African Americans for generations - lessons that go way beyond baseball. "Our purpose at MLK is to serve students during the summer months and give them something to do," she explains.
Lubbockites Remember Martin Luther King Jr.
"It was more important then than I realized at the time," says Reverend Don Armstead who played on the very field more than 30 years ago.
"Green and yellow jersey, and I think we were the new team at the time," recalls Armstead. "This is also the place where I missed my first ball and got my lip busted out there in center field," he shows us. Lessons that shaped who he is today, "It caused me to behave in a different way on a social level, it caused me to value the interaction I had with others, it also just taught me how to be a team player," explains Armstead.
These ideals he says that reflect those which Martin Luther King Jr. stood for. "Not to pre-judge, no to hate, not to celebrate ignorance but to really celebrate life and enjoy life and enjoy individuals and respect them one person to another," he says.
The complex is scheduled to be finished by May of 2009. Until then the league will continue to play at the field on East 24th and MLK.
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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Profile