Along the avenue that bears his name, Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of social justice is given its due among older adults who remember all too well the injustices King rallied against.
The Lincoln Park Senior Center at 4712 Martin Luther King Ave. is a "home away from home” for people such as Leo Turner, Garvin Perkins and Odell Burton. There they play dominoes, exercise and eat lunch while enjoying the easy-going banter of good friends. For many of them, talk of King and the progress resulting from the civil rights movement comes easy. "We are a lot better off as a people than we were in the ’30s and ’40s,” Turner, 75, said, smiling. "And we’re looking for things to get a little bit better than they are now — more than looking at a color or race, let people be people.” Perkins, 86, agreed. "They’ve made a lot of progress. Things are looking up,” he said. Burton, 95, said King’s dream of equality for all Americans has biblical roots. "I’ll tell you what the Lord said: He’s not respecter of persons,” Burton said. "I think that’s what Martin Luther King meant. We all should have equal rights — there’s one blood covering all of us.” Burton said racism is still a part of society, but it is less overt than in King’s day. "It’s not so open, but it still is,” Burton said. Roxie Caraway, the center’s site manager, said she remembers being bound by the Jim Crow laws that restricted black Americans from certain places.