King’s example inspires local woman

Posted 1/11/11

Carol McGuigan said as she thinks about the coming holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it brings back memories of her childhood in Richmond, …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.

Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

King’s example inspires local woman


Carol McGuigan said as she thinks about the coming holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it brings back memories of her childhood in Richmond, Va.

“Dr. King’s birthday is very important to me because I want to remember and celebrate his life and all that he did for the American people,” she said. “His efforts brought people together and helped counter that wrongly-held mind-set that just because you look different, I don’t like you and I definitely don’t want to associate with you.”

McGuigan said she feels King is one of the handful of people down through history who made an impact. His impact was not just on the fabric of the United States but on the fabric of the whole world.

McGuigan said, while race was never a topic of discussion in her home as a child, the family was very aware that they lived in a segregated society with separate schools and where many businesses were off limits to people of color.

“In the spring and summer of 1964, Dr. King came to Richmond and organized a series of weekly demonstration marches,” she said. “I was only 11 but I guess I will always remember those marches and I will particularly remember seeing Dr. King.”

She said it was 1964 when, about every Sunday for about three or four months, hundreds of people would gather after church to take part in the marches.

“Sometimes we would march to the state capitol where a speaker would address the crowd,” the long-time Englewood city employee said. “Usually, the speaker was one of the pastors from the churches but, one Sunday, I was thrilled because I got to see and hear Dr. King. I don’t remember what he said but I remember seeing him.”

She said, while the marches were peaceful demonstration, the police were there with their dogs. McGuigan said it was amazing that while the dogs barked, they only sniffed at her shoes and never bit anyone.

“We marched, sang songs and sometimes went into the upscale stores or restaurants where we knew we wouldn’t be served. It was peaceful demonstrations so, we went in even though we knew they would refuse us service and we left when asked,” she said. “Most Sundays there were hecklers along the route of the march. They yelled at us and sometimes threw things at us.”

The spirit of peaceful demonstration remained a part of McGuigan as, while attending Howard University, she was among the demonstrators who locked themselves in the administration building to protest the Vietnam War.

“We made it clear we supported the soldiers over there doing the fighting and the sole purpose of our demonstration was to voice our objection to the war in Vietnam,” she said. “We wanted to let people know we objected to what our government was doing and wanted our boys brought home.”

McGuigan went on to earn her degree in psychology and pursued a career in recreation.

Now in her 29th year with Englewood Parks and Recreation Department, she said the posters of King that she has in her office are a constant reminder of her experiences and of the civil rights leader.

“Dr. King had a dream and that dream is very real,” she said. “I think about how he was out in front during the civil rights movement of the ’60s.

“His efforts brought about changes, but we need to continue to work hard to eliminate all types of prejudice so all Americans can live in harmony, fulfilling Dr. King’s dream.”


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.