News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 19, 2014

'Our Heritage'

Martin Luther King Jr.

TERRE HAUTE — Today, the nation commemorates the birth of a man whose dream lives on in the hearts of millions, a feeling that is being passed down to future generations.

King lived fighting to make a reality of his dream of freedom, justice and equality for all people. Forty-six years after he died at the hands of an assassin, King is still remembered for his contributions to the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday marking the birth of the legendary pastor, activist and leader of the Civil Rights Movement, is observed on the third Monday of January every year, around the time of King’s birthday, Jan. 15.

“We’re honoring the memory [of King] and we’re honoring the movement,” said Valerie Hart-Craig, president of the The Greater Terre Haute Branch of the NAACP.

King was a leader who was able to mobilize many people across the nation to get behind an idea, Hart-Craig said.

Even the young people.

“We need to remind the young people … that it was young people that made his movement so huge” while still seeking “the wisdom of the elders,” Hart-Craig said. Celebrating King’s life and ideas yearly is important, Hart-Craig said, because “when we forget, we tend to repeat.”

It is important to pass down the history to the next generation, she said.

It is rare “to find an individual who can gather that many people to get behind an idea, and that’s what young people need to see,” she added.

‘Humbling moment’

Some young people in Terre Haute (and their mentors) got to learn about King and other aspects of American culture and history during a summer trip to Washington, D.C.

A school bus full of Terre Haute North and South Vigo high school students and teachers journeyed to the nation’s capital in June 2013. While they visited many sites, including the national mall, the U.S. Capitol Building and museums, a highlight of the trip was a visit to the King Memorial, which opened in 2011.

Erika Cantin, North High School’s African-American Club sponsor, said the group did a lot of walking but when they reached the memorial, one of the stops during their first day in D.C., “everyone became quiet.”

“It was just a humbling moment,” she said.  

The group spent time reading and reflecting on the words inscribed on the memorial.

Cantin quoted one of the inscriptions: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

One student recalled her experience.

“I stood on that spot,” said Alleyah Purnell, president of South High School’s African-American Club, and upon seeing King’s statue and reading the inscriptions, “it was amazing to me.”

The trip was made possible by the students’ years of hard work. The students raised money to fund the trip through bake sales, bingo and selling coupon packets.

That work was a learning experience in itself.

Cantin said it was important for the students to learn the importance of setting goals, “working toward those goals and seeing it through.”

Purnell said she went on the trip because she “wanted to see a lot more of my culture and anything that had to do with history.”

‘Our Heritage’

Another student, Dario Stephens of North High School, said the students made the goal to visit Washington to “see our heritage.”

Stephens, president of North High School’s African-American Club, said that goal was directly linked to the club’s motto, which was of West African origins: “To go back to your roots is to take the next step forward. For it is in the past we find the path that leads to the present. And from the present we move on to the future.”

“Our trip to D.C. was a means to connect to the roots that paved the way toward a brighter future,” Stephens said.

He recalls having the “feeling of pure joy” when, after a 15-hour bus ride and a whole lot of walking, they finally reached the MLK memorial.

“All of our tiredness just went away,” he said. “We were there to enjoy the monument, our history … the moment.”

He said King is an inspiration to him.

“Because he pushed through all the trials and tribulations that were put in front of him,” said the senior who is looking forward to a future in social work. “In the end, he still used nonviolent tactics to bring about equality for everybody.”  

‘Dr. King’s Legacy’

For Mae White, South High School’s African-American Club sponsor, King has been a lifelong inspiration.

Born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., White said one of her regrets is not being able to see King when he spoke at a Memphis church in support of black sanitary public works employees a day before he was killed in Memphis. White, who was in high school at that time, said she wanted to see King but was told by her parents that “education is number one” and she had to stay home and finish her assignment.

But the last speech King delivered, “I've Been to the Mountaintop,” which was widely broadcast, “left such an impression on me.”

After he died, White and her family occupied a “whole row” in a march to honor King.

Now, she is passionate about educating children.

“This is what I believe to my core: I believe the children are our future” and they should be given the opportunity to lead, she said.

The trip to D.C. was not only a learning experience for the students, but also an event that made a difference in their lives.

“I’m positive that [trip] broadened their horizons, and that’s going to help them to become better citizens and better people,” White said.

But it was also a great experience for White, who said she had lived and worked in and around the nation’s capital in earlier years.

“I had an opportunity to see Washington, D.C., through their eyes,” she said.

Knowing that the children are our future, “it was rewarding for me to have been given the opportunity to expose our children to part of Dr. King’s legacy,” she added.

“Even though he’s not with us physically, the message that he left is still getting through to our young people today.”

It’s a message Stephens absorbed.

Discrimination, Stephens said, still exists “and it is only through positive thinking and actively working toward a better future that we can come out on top … and we can reach our goals of equality,” he said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • MET071114  St bens ellis.jpg Annual St. Ben’s community festival kicks off

    The St. Ben's Community Festival kicked off Friday night and continues from 5 p.m. until midnight today.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 071114 DELISH GREENE.jpg Adding to the mix

    The mix of local food choices will get a fresh stir in the near future, as a café opens a second location, a pizza place moves downtown and a national chain sprouts in two more spots.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET071114 guard bennett.jpg Shift from jets to intelligence

    Loud, impressive fighter jets once zoomed regularly across the sky in Terre Haute, their roars drowning out the sounds of televisions and telephones all around the area.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos 2 Stories

  • MET 071114 MANN P.C..jpg Candidates’ views clash over more education testing, vouchers

    Indiana needs to change direction to improve education, said Democrat Jim Mann, who will face incumbent Rep. Robert Heaton, R-Terre Haute, in a rematch race for Indiana House District 46.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET071114bad check.jpg Fraudulent checks with an extra ‘t’

    A Terre Haute woman who received a large check in the mail this week wants to warn others that though the check looks legitimate, it is a scam.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Truck, van collide, stopping some U.S. 41 lanes for an hour

    Northbound traffic on U.S. 41 south of Terre Haute was blocked for about one hour Friday because of a two vehicle crash.

    July 11, 2014

  • Indianapolis closing nightlife street on weekends

    Indianapolis officials will close the main street through a nightlife district to motor vehicles on Friday and Saturday nights to reduce violence there.

    July 11, 2014

  • Man revives 3-year-old who was face down in pool

    Authorities in central Indiana say a man revived his 3-year-old son after spotting the boy face down in an apartment complex pool.

    July 11, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 11, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.

    July 11, 2014

  • New exhibits set to open at Red Skelton museum

    VINCENNES (AP) — Events are being planned for the opening of new exhibits at the museum celebrating the career of the late comedian Red Skelton in his southwestern Indiana hometown.

    July 11, 2014

  • Solar Roadways_Morg.jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • council mtg 013.JPG Mayor: City will not file bankruptcy

    The Terre Haute City Council took well more than  an hour to ask questions and discuss the health of the city’s finances with top city officials in a special meeting Thursday night. A few councilmen expressed grave concern about the financial picture, while Mayor Duke Bennett said things were improving.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • State official threatens prosecution of city leaders who talk about audit

    A state official has threatened to pursue the prosecution of city officials if they violate a confidentiality agreement signed last month.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET 071014 181 02EXPO.jpg ISU, 181st Intelligence Wing show off capabilities at expo

    Communication and getting unmanned eyes in the sky can be vital parts of responding to a natural or man-made disaster.

    July 10, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • Feds relent: Military to restore equipment program for fire departments

    An agreement has been reached to keep surplus military equipment rolling into rural fire department bays in Indiana and 47 other states.

    July 10, 2014

  • united way.jpg UW kicks off pilot campaign

    Dottie King remembers the day she saw a young man leaving St. Ann’s Dental Clinic after having 17 teeth pulled. He had not received sufficient dental care before that day so his need was dramatic. That was unlike King, who had visited the dentist regularly since childhood, but still found getting a tooth filled not on her list of fun things to do. “I thought to myself, ‘I never have thought about the blessing of dental care,’” King recalled, sharing that story on Thursday morning with other volunteers for the United Way of the Wabash Valley.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 071014 181 HILL.jpg Indiana’s director of homeland security sees unmanned systems’ potential

    Integrating unmanned flight systems into use for domestic surveillance can provide first responders with key information in responding to fires, earthquakes and man-made disasters, said John Hill, director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Stunt performer scheduled to be at Wigwam

    A celebrity stunt man named Jim “Crash” Moreau is scheduled to perform at Terre Haute’s Wigwam Skate and Event Center on Saturday.

    July 10, 2014

  • Rain barrels offered for sale

    The Vigo County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for 55-gallon rain barrels.

    July 10, 2014

  • Ash.jpg Tips lead to meth lab bust

    Two people were arrested after police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab Thursday in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • 071014 meth lab items.jpg Police bust meth lab in Terre Haute

    Police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab today in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • UPDATE: Ethics panel approves $5K fine against Bennett

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s State Ethics Commission has approved a $5,000 fine against former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett for using state resources in his 2012 campaign.

    July 10, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 10, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.

    July 10, 2014

  • Group: 5,000 same-sex marriages in Illinois

    A survey indicates thousands of same-sex couples are marrying in Illinois.

    July 10, 2014

  • Study: Hunting restores forests in state parks

    A study by a Purdue University research team has found that regulated deer hunts in Indiana state parks have helped restore forests damaged by too many white-tailed deer.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Children Face Deportation Without Attorneys Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010