Hundreds board 'Freedom Train' to celebrate King's legacy
January 24, 2008 5:00 PM
The crowd at the San Jose train station filled the covered waiting area and spilled onto the drizzly sidewalk. Umbrellas up, the sea of mostly dark faces waited 45 minutes for their train to arrive. Hymns such as "This little light of mine" rose gently from the crowd like steam.
The Freedom Train, chartered annually by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley, marked the national holiday in honor of the renowned civil rights leader. The train ran from San Jose to San Francisco and this year brought as many as 2,000 people from the peninsula to the city.
Young and old alike made the trip, creating an opportunity for the newer generations to familiarize themselves with the life and works of Dr. King.
"Shhhh...," whispered Shawanda Alexander as she placed an index finger gingerly to her thick, pursed lips. Around and above her, children ages 5-16 nearly burst out of their seats to answer a question about Dr. King.
“How old was Dr. King when he enrolled in Moorehouse College?” she asked, as young voices rang out simultaneously, and a few hands went up as well. “That’s right,” Alexander continues, “15.”
Alexander, vice president of the San Jose chapter of Jack and Jill of America, was on board her fifth Freedom Train.
“My roots run deep with Dr. Martin Luther King,” she said, noting that Dr. King’s uncompromising stance against injustice is the most important lesson for the youth of today. “Don’t allow anyone to be mistreated anywhere, no matter who they are,” she said.
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