By Jan White
CROCKETT – Each year on the third Monday in January, communities come together to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. King, a Baptist minister, was the most influential African American civil rights leader in the 1960s. Instrumental in helping pass the Civil Rights Act in 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize that same year.
After his assassination on April 4, 1968, there were calls for a national holiday in his honor. In 1970, several states and cities proclaimed his January 15 birthday a holiday, but it wasn’t until 1983 that legislation was passed to make the third Monday in January a federal holiday. Cities across the country hold parades and celebrations in King’s honor.
This year, the city of Crockett held its second annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade. First responders from Crockett, Ratcliff, Grapeland, Kennard and Houston County led the parade, which included prominent city leaders such as Crockett Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher, County Attorney Daphne Session, Rusk City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Walter Session. Former Crockett resident and Canadian football league Grey Cup winner Ja’Gared Davis, Miss Juneteenth Neffie Wooten, the Crockett Library Book Mobile, The Fitted Hat Cowboys, and several other local businesses, churches, and individuals who wished to show their support took part in the event.