Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call: MLK Day's march of history

The country's largest parade in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. will kick off this morning in Denver, Colorado, a mid-sized city with a small black population, but a big record of fighting for equality.

Wilma Webb, then a state legislator, was instrumental in pushing to make MLK Day a holiday; Colorado approved her proposal in 1984, two years before the first official national celebration on January 20, 1986. In 1991, Wilma Webb's husband, Wellington, became Denver's first black mayor. And in August 2008, on the fortieth anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Barack Obama made his acceptance speech as the Democratic candidate for President of the United States.

When the Marade starts today at 9 a.m. in City Park, there will be history in every step.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun