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March on Barstow Road

Saturday rally honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Staff Writer

BARSTOW • For the 16th year by President Mary L. Hailey’s estimations, the Art and Industrial Men’s and Women’s Club led approximately more than a hundred community members — young and old — in a peace march up Barstow Road Saturday to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“What it represents is the legacy he started,” Hailey said about the rally, which has always began at Barstow Road and Williams Street and ended at the Cora Harper Community Center, just south by more than half a mile.

Every third Monday in January since 1992, and beginning in 1986, the U.S. has observed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — a testament to the influence of the leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, known for playing an instrumental role in the advancement of civil rights through nonviolent civil disobedience.

The youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, King is usually remembered for leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957 and the March on Washington in 1963, where he famously told the gathered crowd of his dream.

King was also subject to surveillance through the FBI’s counter intelligence program, COINTELPRO, throughout his life — declared a radical under Director J. Edgar Hoover’s administration.

In 1976, a report by the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations stated “many of the techniques used would be intolerable in a democratic society even if all of the targets had been involved in violent activity, but COINTELPRO went far beyond that.”

On Saturday, mimicking elements of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Hailey hoped that people within the community and throughout the nation would come together “no matter the color of your skin” and that children would learn there is no difference.

From year to year, the amount of participants in the peace march varies, she said, but she would like to see it grow in the future.

Military veterans, boy scouts, girl scouts, the preschool Tot Time, representatives from various churches, Police Chief Albert Ramirez and former Barstow mayor Lawrence Dale were among those who made the warm-weather stroll.

“The city,” Hailey explained, “does well for us every year.”

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