"How far we've come": MLK committee looks at desegregation in Myrtle Beach
Sat, 18 Jan 2014 22:05:39 GMT —
It's been more than 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. declared "I have a dream" and on Saturday, Bennie Swans, Chairman of the MLK Planning Committee took WPDE on a tour of downtown Myrtle Beach to show just how much has changed since that time.
Swans started the tour at city hall.
"Right here in this building, African-Americans could not obtain employment," Swans explained.
The same building still stands today but Swans added that a lot has changed for the better.
"Right now we have had three African-American councilman that have been elected at large. It happened right here in this great place."
One of the councilmen Swans is referring to is Mike Chestnut and so it was only fitting that Swans took us to his restaurant next.
Chestnut cooks and runs "Big Mike's Soul Food."
He said that 50 years ago, owning a restaurant as an African-American in our area, wouldn't have been possible.
"We were doing the cooking but we were in the kitchen but now we're out front so I think people are just saying hey, I've been eating soul food the whole time but it's good to see the people who are cooking the soul food and talking with them and meeting with them," Chestnut explained.
After visiting Chestnut at his restaurant, Swans still had one more place to show us, the Myrtle Beach Train Depot, where he said, 50 years ago African Americans could not even sit in the same waiting room, or drink from the same fountain.
"As we sit here, we've made great progress, we've got great progress to make but we've come a long way," Swans added.
Saturday, as part of a weekend of MLK celebrations, people gathered at the depot: just another stop on the way to equality.
To see a full list of event for this weekend's celebrations click here.