If you’d forgotten that the American civil rights movement was conceived and nurtured in the black church, Denton’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration was (and always is) a reminder. The afternoon program was a tapestry of hymns and anthems, preaching and testimony from the Old Testament — a story of the divine delivering the Hebrew people from slavery.
As the Alpha Phi Alpha-led march traveled from the University of North Texas to the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, at least one man caught the devotional feeling of the march. Standing at the corner of Locust and Hickory streets, the man took off his hat and held it over his heart. Customers on the rooftop bar of LSA Burger Co. turned to watch hundreds process through town, and when the march passed through the neighborhood outside of UNT, some residents came out onto their porches and yards to watch the crowd pass.
The celebration also honored members of Denton’s black community: Andray Johnson won an award for his revival of the Federation Choir, a historical chorus made up of singers from the city’s black congregations; Vanessa Joy and Willie Brewer won awards for service to the community; Nate Johnson won an award for his organizational prowess and Rev. Reggie Logan won an award for lending ministerial services to people in need. Phyllis Cochran Bruce won the Catherine Bell Tribute Award for her years of service to Denton.
Denton’s music and arts community suffered an enormous loss this week when Andy Knapik died.
Knapik, who most recently threw his shoulder behind the wheel in co-founding the Denton Music and Art Collaborative, suffered several heart attacks and had a heart transplant late in 2018.
Knapik — described as a “super mensch” by one of his many friends — died on Jan. 21. He did much unsung work in the local creative community, and the loss of his efforts and his indomitable spirit are already missed.
100 Dentonites Who Give a Damn, a local group of philanthropy-minded folks, gave money to Our Daily Bread, a nonprofit that serves lunch to the needy Monday through Saturday.
We’re not sure just how much the group raised, but executive director Wendy McGee said the money will help the hungry in Denton.
Call Denton Black Film Festival the little festival that could. Now in its fifth year, the film, music, art, spoken word and comedy festival got some ink in Martha Stewart Living magazine in a preview of Black History Month cultural events across the country. The festival opened Wednesday night and ends on Sunday, just ahead of Black History Month (which falls in February). Still, it’s nice to be noticed by one of Stewart’s flagship publications.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
— The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.