Elgin unveils Black Icons mural of five community leaders

Both Elgin and Round Rock had events Martin Luther King weekend, both honoring the past and looking towards the future.

Elgin unveiled a Black Icons Mural located in the historically segregated south side of the tracks and features five Black community leaders both deceased and living. 

Civil rights leader Harvey Westbrook, educator Annie Lee Haywood, business owners and community leaders S.H. McShan and Dorothy McCarther, and musician Monty Joe Thomas are featured.

The mural by artist Jeremy Biggers is 50 feet long and 20 feet high. The unveiling was led by Theresa McShan, Elgin's first Black mayor.

"It's really, really an honor to be back here to be able to use my skillset to honor such tremendous people in the community here in Elgin," Biggers said.

"Today we are better human beings to have the Thomas blood in our veins, and you are better people to have crossed the path of Monty Joe Thomas. You strengthen the tree by remembering the roots," Monty Joe Thomas' daughter said.

The Thomas Family Singers sang a song with the lyrics, "they push me to the bottom of a bowl, and I rise to the top."

McShan spoke of her father, who just turned 91 years old.

"He was teaching me how I should behave, how I should act, and what I should do, and it can't get any better than that as far as I'm concerned. I might have thought differently as we were growing up, but I so appreciate it now. To daddy, thank you," she said.

"It is a blessing, it is an honor, it is a privilege to be placed on this Black Icon mural of Elgin, Texas, to be able to be placed beside such giants," Dorothy McCarther said.

"Our father was part of the first generation of Blacks who traveled the world and had experienced beyond earlier generations of Black Americans," the son of Harvey Westbrook said. "On behalf of the Westbrook family, I want to extend our deepest gratitude and thanks for including our father in the striking and beautiful mural. Dad would've been so pleased to see himself with our other community leaders."

"I am so proud that people are still remembering her year, years, years and years... and just remember, she will never let you use the incorrect grammar," Grace Mosby, Annie Lee Haywood's daughter, said.

Over in Round Rock, the Round Rock Black History Organization hosted the 36th annual MLK walk and celebration.

The Austin Citywide March Sound Drum Line participated. The organization gives at-risk students a musical outlet and prepares them for college.

"MLK parade is very pivotal to our community because of what MLK did for our people. We're just happy to be a part of that and keep it going," founder Joshua Rodgers said.