Tuesday, January 19, 2010

As featured in the Houston Chronicle

Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
Jan. 18, 2010, 9:54PM
By Allan Turner

Richard Shandy holds Layla Shandy, 2, on his shoulders during the Black Heritage Society's MLK Day parade Monday in downtown Houston.  - Karen Warren, Chronicle

Darien Francis III doesn't know much about Martin Luther King Jr.'s place in history. But he knows how to love a parade. And the Houston 2-year-old was on the front lines Monday as the Black Heritage Society's 32nd annual MLK Day parade dazzled spectators with prancing horses, booming brass bands and sequined drill teams that glistened like a whirligig of jewels.

“I show him pictures and tell him Dr. King was an African-American hero,” said Yulonda Francis, the boy's grandmother. “Of course he doesn't recall much, but whenever he sees King's picture, he points and says, ‘Smart man. Smart man.' ”

Darien and his grandmother were among thousands who turned out under sunny skies for the hour-long downtown parade, which marked the 81st anniversary of the civil rights leader's birth. This year's celebration perhaps lacked the exuberance of last year's, which came on the heels of Barack Obama's election as president, but there still was much to honor.

Some in the crowd were reflective. They credited King's campaigns with laying the groundwork for many social gains blacks have achieved in the 42 years since his assassination. Still, some said, much remains to be done.

In a reflective mood

Don Peacock, attired in a red, white and blue windbreaker, said he'd come to reflect upon — and to teach his three children — the sacrifices that the battle for civil rights entailed. “I want them to know and not forget what paved our way to liberty,” he said.

Another parent, Richard Encisco, accompanied by his 6- and 8-year-old children, shared a nearby stretch of sidewalk. “A lot of things, most things, maybe are so different now,” he said. “We've come for remembrance.”

If sober recollections flooded the minds of those old enough to have lived through the King era, the scene in the street strictly was of the here and now. And it was nothing but a celebration.

Vendors blowing noisy horns hawked the usual array of trinkets and edibles, including cotton candy, both pink and blue. Among the “throws” were candy, beads, oranges, political campaign T-shirts and, in at least one instance, dollar bills.

Horses and more

On hand were the sheriff's mounted posse, marching bands, beauty school drill teams and the Dancing Divas, grade school hoofers decked out in sparkling red and black costumes with gold pom-poms by way of accessories.

The parade carried a heavy dose of politics, with anti-war and death penalty opponents joining the marchers, the latter group carrying posters demanding an end to “legal lynching.” A Palestinian group and the Green Party marched in solidarity with Haiti.

Members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense strode down Texas Avenue with clenched fists, shouting “power to the people.”

Disc jockey-turned-mortician Skipper Lee Frazier was present with two hearses, each bearing on its side window the inscription “ETERNAL REST” in gilt letters. Beneath those words were taped placards bearing the words “Racism” and “Genocide.”

The Black Heritage Society’s parade was one of two Monday honoring the slain civil rights leader. The other was the MLK Grande Parade.


So, as you can see above, Layla attended her very first MLK Jr. Day March and Parade.  I, of course, had to work, so daddy gladly took the reigns and showed Layla a good time. 

Before they dropped me off at work, I asked daddy if I gave him the camera, would he take pictures?  His response?  "Well, since I will have Layla and the stroller...it will probably be hard to take pictures, so no." 

Riiiight!  Because anytime I go anywhere.  With Layla.  And the stroller.  I never.  Ever.  Get pictures??? 

Okay.  Glad the Houston Chronicle was on my side!!!


Melissa said...

What a great article & picture. Sweet! LOL love the omment about the camera :)

undomestic chica said...

She is TOO adorable!

Six in One Hand said...

I love it!!!!

Glad she got to be apart of the celebration and you have something to remember it by.

MzPrettyPhresh said...

Awwww your little girl is so gorgeous. Can I babysit lol jk but that article was very touching. I love your blog so much.

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