Sunday night hundreds of people filled the Civic Center for Lubbock's 38th annual Martin Luther King Day celebration. Toes were tapping, hands were raised, and voices lifted in praise thankful Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech is now a reality. "This celebration 45 years later makes it so significant. It paid off. The dream paid off," said former City Councilman TJ Patterson.
76-year-old Clara Lenord remembers a time when public busses wouldn't stop for her and stores would not let her come through their doors. Today, she says it's a very different story and she's thankful her great grandchildren who she brought to Sunday night's service don't know what it's like to be excluded because of their race. "They'll never witness that. They'll never see that. It's gone, and thank God it's gone," she said.
Lubbock residents have come together to commemorate Martin Luther King for the past 38 years, but this year is different. This year they celebrate not only the past legacy of a great African American leader, but the future hope of the first African American President. "Martin Luther King, 1968. Barack Obama, 2008. That's very significant. That's why we're here," said Patterson
Lenord says this year Martin Luther King Day holds special significance because his dream is being realized.
"We're still marching to the victory. We haven't gotten there yet, but the footprints that he left in the sand of life, they're becoming realistic now," said Patterson.
Lubbock's Martin Luther King Day celebration continues tomorrow night at 6 p.m. with the Gospel Awards on the Texas Tech campus.
Martin Luther King Black Tie Celebration