Today is the 25th Federal Observance of Martin Luther King's birthday. While the nation pauses to honor him, some Texomans have their own memories of Dr. King's influence on Wichita Falls, and the country as a whole.
Maxine Fields, for example, attended the segregated Booker T. Washington School right here in Wichita Falls all the way through high school. She says it's amazing that we've gone from people not even being able to drink from the same drinking fountain to today, when almost all schools close to honor Dr. King.
"It makes it great, ya know. You feel wonderful to see how far we've come today," she said.
When she was 23, she watched King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech, which he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, on her TV. From that point on, she and her peers began doing what they could to make a difference.
"We are today working on trying to fulfill his dream," she said.
Patrick Kline also remembers seeing the speech live on TV. He says it was a relief to see a non-violent approach to the civil rights movement. He feels Dr. King was more reasoned in his approach, and therefore enjoyed greater success. Kline also felt like the great civil rights leader wasn't doing things just for the attention.
"The fact that he didn't just march in areas where there was a great deal of press coverage was impressive to me," Kline said.
Both Kline and Fields agree that King's dream is shared by many.
"I thought it's a dream that all Americans should have. I thought it was a dream that stressed the importance of character," Kline said.
"Without him and the movement that so many people in that time set forth, we would not be where we are today," Fields said.
Today, Martin Luther King, Jr. is the only American who was not a president to have a federal holiday honoring him.