ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Annually, Americans celebrate Martin Luther King Junior for his legacy in fighting for civil rights. Some celebrate by reflecting on progress on racial equality, while others gather at parades and marches to chat with others about the history of activism.

MLK’s message reached far and wide, including the Big Country. For Abilene native, Michael T. Royals, activism runs in his blood. His late father, Claudie C. Royals, is remembered as a civil rights leader. Fighting for equal rights for African Americans and all people of all races.

Michael T Royals remembers his father as someone who helped others regardless of their skin color or if he knew them personally. Claudie Royals organized the key city’s 1980 MLK march. Now, his son Michael T Royals has took over that role.

“We just don’t have to wait until to the parade to acknowledge and be nice to people, you know. We can do that twenty-four hours you know, even like before messenger came out, we were messengers. You know, that’s all we have to do is just tell each other ‘Hey you know, I love you care for you if you need help,'” Michael Royals explained.

The key city has come a long way since he was a kid, but Michael Royals shared as a community, we all need to support one another.

Claudie C. Royals

“Abilene is kind of special and you know yes we may still have a little hatred and everything, but people are trying to get past that and working together and stuff. Cause ain’t no one race going to do it by themselves. You know, if one of us is going to climb the mountain, all of us are going to the climb the mountain,” added Michael Royals.

He shared that at the end of the day, God created everyone different and we need to remember that beauty.

“If God wanted to, he could of made everything gray. The sky, the grass gray, all of us gray, but he wanted to show you how much he loved you so he gave you the many colors we are able to see,” said Michael Royals.

He honors his fathers legacy by organizing the MLK parade every year, as well as helping others just like his dad and MLK did. He stresses the importance of teaching kids our nation’s civil rights history.