TYLER, Texas — Wednesday marked Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s 91st birthday.
The civil rights leader had a profound impact on the United States. It is this legacy the Texas African-American Museum works to preserve.
Museum contributors say this museum is important to them, especially on King’s birthday.
“Martin sat down, so we could stand up. We could stand up and keep going to keep on improving,” Museum Executive Director Gloria Washington said. “I just love his melodic voice. The way he interjected the community interjected with everyone that he met.”
“His legacy is to remind everyone that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” Smith County Historical Society member Larry Wade said.
“Martin Luther King did it by showing peace and love," donor Donnie Howard said. "So we've always got to keep that in our heart and minds. And once you do that, you can think better, because the angry man makes bad decisions a lot of time."
The museum is filled with images, artwork and literature about groundbreaking African-American men and women such as astronauts, service members, athletes, inventors and politicians.
Washington says King laid the foundation of the path these extraordinary men and women followed, and people can still learn from him today.
“We're all humans. So we have to learn, no matter what color you are, learn to get along. In order to get along, you got to grow. You have to grow," Washington explained. "If you don't stand for anything, guess what's going to happen? You're going to fall for anything. So stand for something as [King] did. Stand for that which is right."
The Texas African-American Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 3000 N Border Avenue.