Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Martin Luther King Celebration in Livingston

We are now parked in eastern Texas, about seventy miles north of Houston. The past few days have been rainy and damp, with heavy fog in the mornings. Temperatures in the high fifties, to low sixties. I spent much of my childhood years in Texas, and one memory I have is that of the winters being quite rainy. I also remember the summers being very dry and hot. It was not unusual then to see the ground split wide open from all the dryness, so I do not imagine that residents of this area mind the current cool and damp weather at all. The town of Livingston has a population of about 6,000 people. When we saw the signs around town advertising a MLK celebration for Monday (yesterday) we did not seriously consider attending, thinking it would just be a small town affair. However, people at the rv park here encouraged us to go. We did attend and had a great time. It was a good opportunity to see a microcosm of the community around us. About sixteen miles out of town is the Alabama Conshatta Indian Reservation and those residents were in attendance.. The MLK celebration was advertised as a "Multicultural Festival".  After eating a delicious free meal of fried fish in the local high school cafeteria we were treated to quite a variety of entertainment. Cody Littlehawk was one of the first performers on stage in the high school's auditorium, playing his wooden flutes.
  Native American dancers from the reservation also performed several dances. Their costumes were quite beautiful. They did a beautiful Native American chant with a drum in memory of those who died in the Arizonza shootings which happened a couple weeks ago.

 An inspirational message was delivered by Dr. Guylene Robertson, Superintendent of Goodrich Schools. In her tribute to Dr.Martin Luther King  Dr. Robertson spoke on how Dr. King lived and exemplified the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken. The musical entertainment lasted for close to three hours and included everything from( beside Native American dances), Hawaiian dancing to Hip Hop street dancing.The audience was also encouraged to participate with the Hawaiian dancers. Even a local Baptist minister made an attempt at the Polynesian dancing.
 There were also country and gospel music singers, as well as choral and band groups from local high schools. As everyone was leaving the auditorium a local musician played Jambalya on his fiddle. We were thrilled to again hear some Cajun music. Polk County could be proud of  their MLK celebration, in fact it was their 1lth annual festival. As John commented: "not bad for a free evening".

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