DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In April of 1968, Leona Allen was surrounded by family and friends in her parents Oak Cliff home, in the Glen View neighborhood.
Too young to remember the day an assassin’s bullet killed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Allen would soon take notice of the efforts advocated by King.
“I went to Skyline High School on a minority to majority transfer. Most of the students then were white”, said Allen, who is African-American.
She is now an Editorial Board member for the Dallas Morning News.
Wednesday, in a conversation at her office, Allen shared her assessment of life in Dallas today, based on the tenets of Dr. King’s movement and activism for racial equality in American life.
“Dallas today, in terms of equality and access, is much better than this day 50 years ago. But we still have a long way to go. Racial tensions are still high in this city. We still have a divide that King would be disappointed about,” Allen said.
Just five miles from Allen’s office, Glen Rice lives across the street from a Highland Park ISD school. Rice and his wife live with his daughter and his grandchildren. “I couldn’t see Dr. King, but I could hear him,” Rice recalled. He was a young man from Michigan, living in Washington DC in 1963, when he joined the hundreds of thousands of others at the Lincoln Memorial to hear King’s legendary “I Have A Dream” speech.
Today, Rice is an active member of Park Cities Baptist Church, and volunteers to mentor poor, mostly black and Latino children in South Dallas. “How’s Dallas meeting King’s mission today,” a reporter asks.
“I think it’s incredible we come as far as we have, but we still have this dichotomy,” Rice said.
Rice said Dallas still has separate, poor and under educated areas, often defined by race.
“My neighborhood is a rich area. There are black children here, but it’s different even today. When I’m in South Dallas, its much poorer. So yeah, we are a long ways away from where it should be,” he said.