"If we were just to sit in our houses and watch TV all day, we're not exercising our rights," says 13-year-old Joseph-David Fields. "We're no better off than we were several years ago."
That's why hundreds of East Texans are paying tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Marchers say it's important to remember him for what he stood for and the price he paid while trying to make his dream come true.
"He worked for so much," Mary Davis says. "He lost his life [fighting] for our freedoms, so I just think it's a great day."
It's also important to remember that Dr. King fought for the rights of all Americans, not just African-Americans.
"He stood up for what he believed in, and that's why his life was taken, because he was for all people of all colors," Ramona Moore says.
While many of us learned about Dr. King from black and white film clips and high school history books, others have a much clearer picture of the young man with hopes and dreams far beyond his years. Dr. King's former classmate was in Lufkin Monday. He wasn't just honoring a civil rights legend, he was remembering his friend and the dream that many people have forgotten.
"Everything seems to be getting complacent now," Haskell Royal says. "The young people, they just remember him as a person. They don't remember him as a person that fought for them to be where they are now."
Royal says America has made progress, but there's still a long way to go before Dr. King's dream is a reality.
"A lot of his dreams have come true, but we're still slow," Haskell says. "We need to get more education for kids. We need to see that more kids graduate from college."
Haskell Royal happens to be one of this year's inductees into the Dunbar Hall of Honor. Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Haskell directed the choir and band at Dunbar High School in 1955. He says being inducted into the hall of honor is a big deal, especially since it's on the same day the entire nation remembers his popular friend and classmate, Dr. King.
Odessa Allen Terry was also inducted into the hall of honor Monday. She graduated from Dunbar High School in 1941 and later taught in public schools for 30 years.