Mississippi Freedom Riders among participants in SA MLK March

March considered among largest in US

SAN ANTONIO – The annual march in San Antonio honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brought back memories and stories for many people who attended Monday's event.

"When I got on that bus, tears came to my eyes," Barbara Bowie, a participant, said. 

Bowie grew up in Mississippi, where she said she endured the oppression of the 1960s through her childhood. 

"Back in '64 or '65, I got in a bus with my mother, sat in the front seat and a white gentleman started cursing and calling me names, and all of that. So, that brought me back those memories, and we need to keep moving forward, not backwards," Bowie said. 

Bowie sat alongside the Mississippi Freedom Riders, who said they've come a long way. 

"In the early '60's, we got our buses to integrate the buses and to integrate the bus station, to go and protest drink out of the fountains that were marked for whites only," said Fred Anderson, a Mississippi Freedom Rider. "And many (of) us, because we took the risk and did that, we were arrested, we were brutalized and we were jailed."  

The march in San Antonio is considered among the largest in the nation, attracting 200,000 to 300,000 people to the city's East Side. 

Participants marched 2 3/4 miles from MLK Academy to Pittman-Sullivan Park, where a commemorative program was held, featuring nationally recognized journalist Roland Martin as the keynote speaker.. 

This year’s March celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first March for Justice organized by the late Rev. Dr. Raymond "R.A." Callies Sr., a San Antonio teacher and pastor.

Callies began the march in 1968 to call attention to the need for basic infrastructure on the East Side.

The MLK Jr. Commission and City of San Antonio held the first official Martin Luther King Jr. March on Jan. 19, 1987.   

About the Author:

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.