March honors King at Madame Walker Theatre

Dozens of Hoosiers marched to the Madame Walker Theatre Monday.
Published: .
Updated: .

Hoosiers celebrated Inauguration Day and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Indianapolis Monday.

A near-capacity crowd at the Madame Walker Theatre came together to honor the past and witness the future. The theatre was alive with Hoosiers who wanted to witness a history in an historic setting.

"We do not believe, in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few," President Barack Obama said during his address Monday.

The inauguration of the 44th President of the United States on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"This day means a lot to me. It means the start of us cooperating with each other. No more segregation and black people and white people are able to stick together and not fight against each other and to have harmony and peace in our lives," said Lesley Harris Noble.

Harris Noble, 16, is participating in a mentoring program for 100 Black Men of Indianapolis.

"To have the Inauguration on Martin Luther King's day. The fact that all he stood for about unity and bringing people together in the United States and the world, I think is very appropriate that the Inauguration of the U.S. President occurs on that holiday as well," said James Duke.

Fourteen-year-old Ciana Jones only knows what she reads about Dr. King.

"He fought for us to be what we are today, where we can do anything and don't have to go by rules and everything," Jones said.

"I never thought in my lifetime I would see us have an African-American president. To see him elected a second time is historic to me. It means we are trying to become one as America," said Tina Jones.

At the end of Obama's speech, the nearly capacity crowd at the Madame Walker Theatre erupted in loud applause and some even gave a standing ovation, but not all. This was a speech and a day, as John F. Kennedy said, "marked an end as well as a beginning and renewal as well as change."

Not everyone has to read history to remember. The march to the Madame Walker Theatre took almost 45 years for Aaron Woodall. He was there April 4, 1968.

"Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight in Memphis, Tenn.," Robert F. Kennedy told a crowd in Indianapolis that night.

"To see Bobby Kennedy was quite an honor for me, to listen to him speak," Woodall said.

He said the crowd was shocked at the news.

"Big hush over the crowd and it really made a difference," he said.

"What we need today in the United States is not division. What we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, wisdom and compassion toward one another," Kennedy told the audience.

It meant more to Woodall than to most, because he hard heard Dr. King preach at his own church, Ebenezer Baptist Church.

"To sit there and listen to him speak, he was always so inspirational. It was quite an honor," Woodall said. "You know he was something special."

Woodall joined others Monday in the annual march to the theatre.

"I always enjoy this. It rejuvenates the juices for what you believe in and I do believe what Dr. Martin Luther King stood for," he said.

Forty-five years after King's assassination, they were marching to see the second Inauguration of President Obama, but they have yet to arrive.

"Deep in my heart, I do believe we shall overcome some day," Woodall said.