FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Northwest Arkansas community came together Monday to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan 16.
The NWA Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Council co-hosted a series of events. A freedom march started at 11:00 a.m. on MLK Jr. Boulevard in Fayetteville and continued to the Faulkner Performing Arts Center at the University of Arkansas, where a vigil was held.
Most notably, the vigil hosted the famous activist, Dr. Cornel West, who answered questions from a panelist. The Inspirational Chorale at the University of Arkansas also participated in the services.
Hundreds of people attended Monday’s events, including the Fayetteville High School Basketball team. Some of the team members said they were glad to see so many show up.
Mary Douglas participated in the march and vigil. She brought her three grandkids to attend with her and had a hard time speaking about how much the day meant to her.
“You see cultures here for the same purpose, to finish what Martin Luther King Jr. started,” said Douglas.
Monday was a significant day for Fayetteville resident, Julia Sampson. She used to live in Memphis and lived just two blocks away from the Lorraine Motel.
“I was there in 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. It was sad, it was traumatic,” said Sampson.
She participated in Monday’s events and reflected on how it felt to participate.
“There’s both sadness at the remembrance of things past, and there is joy that people are still doing it and still remember,” said Sampson.
For Lindsey Elverett-Higgins, the president of the NWA Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Council, the image of King that sticks out so significantly in her mind was his desire for inclusivity.
“I think he could challenge us to continue to push the envelope and move the needle to ensure we’re still active in regards to embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in our communities,” said Elverett-Higgins.