VERNON,TX(RNN Texoma) - Dozens of Vernon residents celebrated a street name change to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday.
"Today, we found out we can accomplish freedom if we speak up and get involved in the process," Rev. Willie King, Full Gospel Fellowship Church pastor, said.
Rev. King said the change from Dean Street, a stretch of road along U.S. 287, to that of the late great civil rights leader was a year-long dream that finally came true.
Dozens marched along the 10 blocks of Dr. MLK Jr Street singing songs that were sung during the civil rights movement. It was not led by Dr. King but many said he was there, his ideas, his legacy and his dream.
Rev. King said the city's African American Community once felt excluded from their neighborhood but the name change helped unify the community.
"Having this sign gives us visibility," Rev. King said. "In the form of a sign, it gives us representation, recognition and inclusiveness. We just feel like we're just a greater part of the city starting today."
Rev. King said what made the unveiling so special was that it happened during Juneteenth weekend. June 19 is celebrated in Texas because it marks the end of slavery in the state. It was abolished June 19, 1865.
"For us, it's the day we found out we were free," Rev. King said.
"I'm just joyful and thankful that we had the opportunity to do this," Tasha Lee said while she held her 'I have a deam' sign.
Lee said there is still much more to dream for.
"I hope we can get a museum, a little gym named Dr. Martin Luther King, something in that nature," Lee said.
A community garden named after Dr. King was also unveiled. Many have already planted fruits and vegetables there. It is located near Strahan Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.
The celebrations continue at Booker T. Washington Gym on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.