On Saturday, the funeral for civil rights activist Ovide Duncantell was held at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. He was 82.
As the founder of the first ever Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in the country, as well as Houston’s Black Heritage Society, Duncantell dedicated his life to advocacy and activism within the black community.
“In this day and age, there are so few people willing to die for what’s right,” HISD School Board Vice President Jolanda Jones told ABC 13. “He was willing to die.”
“I’m going to remember that he chained himself to a tree that he had planted years ago in the memory of Dr. King,” said Houston City Councilman Michael Kubosh.
Duncantell organized the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in downtown Houston in 1978.
“This parade is a reminder that there’s still an opportunity to preserve the dream, to continue to keep that legacy alive of hope, inclusivity, support and love,” said the parade’s Assistant Project Manager Ivy Okoro. “Mr. Duncantell represented all of those things.”
The Chief Operating Officer of the Black Heritage Society, Sylvester Brown, issued the following statement: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our founder, Mr. Ovide Duncantell who was a visionary and brave leader. He was committed to advocacy, activism and action for the community. It’s because of him that the very first MLK Day parade in the nation was created.”