Cruising down Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in South Dallas the words 'vibrant' and 'thriving' do not necessarily come to mind. Check cashing places, liquor stores and young men walking around in sagging pants can be seen along the street named for the slain civil rights leader and people who live and work in the area say his name and memory deserves better.
"This area's doing, I hate to say 'marginal' but it's improving," says Haneef Id-Deen who stopped to talk to NBC 5 in the 3100 block of MLK Boulevard. "We need a lot more economic progress in South Dallas."
Progress can be slow but we found three life-long South Dallas residents on MLK Blvd. Sunday morning who aren't about to give up on King's dream. They say their city and their country have come a long way with racial equality.
"When I was going to high school we couldn't walk on this side of the street," remembered Marie Warren on her way to church. "That school was all white. Now everything is integrated. It's okay. It's getting there. It may never get there but it's getting there and that's progress and I'm okay with that."
"Whether you're black, white or Hispanic we need to all try to get along," said Eugene 'Shorty' Crow who'll be riding a bike in Monday's parade. "And that's how I grew up. No matter what color you are, let's come together."
"Sometimes we take three steps forward, two steps back but the whole racial situation in Dallas, the state, the country is a work in progress," said Id-Deen.
The South Dallasites say they believe that work will continue. And on Monday they will celebrate what's been accomplished and the dreams Martin Luther King Jr's legacy represents to them.
"He was assassinated. You can destroy the person but you cannot destroy the idea and the dream. Killing that person doesn't solve anything. Somebody's going to keep it going," said Warren. "I think that's beautiful."