The Houston Sun
Several hundred people gathered for the annual Black Heritage Society’s (BHS) memorial candlelight vigil on April 4 to remember the life’s work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Having the newly installed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s plaza in MacGregor Park, it was the place to be. Organized by BHS vice president Sandra Massie Hines, the program included “A Moment in Time” film with Tom Jones where he discussed Prairie View A&M University’s choir having sang for Dr. King the night before his death. A skit about Rosa Park and the Alabama Bus boycott and a musical by Khalia K-Night was entertainment and content discussion. T
he 39-year old King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, 47 years ago on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. The day before King spoke about having seem the mountain top stating that he may not get there with us, but we shall get there. King the minister was remembered by local ministers with prayers from Rev. James Nash, Rev. Melvin Bradford and others.
In the year of 2014, Dr. King was honored after 33 years of work by a transplanted Houstonian Ovide Duncantell who kept a promise made to Dr. Martin Luther King’s father. “I fought with the city of Houston for 33 years to put up this Dr. King statue that looks like him. And I thank Ben Hall for putting up the cash to pay for this statue so that I would not have to bow down to the city or METRO,” said Ovide Duncantell, the President and Founder of the Black Heritage Society.
Duncantell welcomed his friends for years of support calling them to come forward to stand with him as speeches were made. He called his long-time friend Johnny Matta from the Coalition of Justice stating that they have had many battles together. Matta congratulated Duncantell saying, “He has done more than any three men have done for this city.
Elected officials brought recognition and certificates of appreciation from Representative, Ron Reynolds, State senator Rodney Ellis sent a representative, Jeremy Brown with his certificate and Aston P. Wood told the audience that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee would be coming. Upon Jackson-Lee’s arrival she thanks Duncantell for his years of service. Lee went further to discuss the recent Iran agreement framework saying that President Barack Obama should be congratulated for opening talks that had been closed since 1979 following the hostage crisis during President James “Jimmy” Carter’s administration. The congresswoman charged her colleagues and the audience to not speak without knowledge calling the steps to deal with Iran’s tentative agreement as an opportunity for peace. She connected standing at the MLK monument, the man of peace, with the need to seek international peach.
Pointing to Congresswoman Lee, Duncantell said, “We would not be here at the MLK plaza without this lady. She brought the bacon home getting a million dollars for this project.” While standing on the side and observing the program, Stephan Garrett, 40 said, “I am here to support my people and what is going on in the black history movement. I want everyone to get along and not be discriminated against because of the color of one’s skin.”
After prayer and each individual calling on the names of a person whom he or she wished to remember, who has made a difference in their life or in the world, the candles were lit, followed by the singing of “We shall Over Come”. The Black Heritage Society ended its reflections of Dr. King’s service on the day of his assassination with a prayer sending the peaceful crowd away chanting and speaking of hope.