La Vergne hopes to make MLK celebration annual event - WSMV News 4

La Vergne hopes to make MLK celebration annual event

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LA VERGNE, TN (WSMV) -

It was once a city plagued with discrimination lawsuits, but with a new leadership in place, La Vergne officials are trying to change the culture of the city.

A few years ago, if you saw civil rights activist Gwendolyn Anthony around La Vergne City Hall, the situation probably wasn't too good.

"I got busy because I saw justice wasn't being done," Anthony said.

She fought for years, leading the charge in helping to file discrimination lawsuits on behalf of several black employees, and the city paid millions of dollars in settlements.

"I see the city is calmer, and people now understand," Anthony said.

Up until last year, the city of La Vergne didn't celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but on Monday a crowd packed into city hall to honor the civil rights leader.

"My favorite Dr. King quote is, 'Hate is too big of a burden to bear,'" said La Vergne Mayor Senna Mosley.

The city took time to honor the man who fought for justice himself.

"It is truly an honor to be able to do this and show how much Dr. King has done for this community and entire nation," Mosley said.

Mosley decided it was about time to honor the civil rights leader, so last year, the city decided to hold its first King celebration and hopes to make it an annual event.

At the same time, the mayor chose Anthony as one of the celebration's speakers.

"The thing she and I saw eye-to-eye on is that we want is everyone to be treated equally, and we have done that," Mosley said.

Both Anthony and the mayor say things have gotten better, but there is still a long way to go. They just hope community relations will continue to progress.

Looking back, Anthony said the fight for justice was worth it.

"I think it was past due," Anthony said.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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