Newsmakers for April 1: Rev. William Lawson on 50th anniversary of MLK's death

After 'March for Our Lives' and all about Children's Fest

HOUSTON – The Rev. William Lawson arrived in Houston in 1955 as director of the Baptist Student Union at Texas Southern University.

Now, 63 years later, he is the retired founding pastor of the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and looks back on a life of local leadership and his friendship with The Rev. Martin Luther King.

GALLERY: Rev. William Lawson photos of Dr. King

As we approach the 50th anniversary of King’s death, Lawson says the news of his death was not unexpected. 

"All of us had known that he was probably going to be assassinated. We didn't know when or how but we were certain that it was going to happen," he said. 

WATCH: Full interview with Reverend Lawson in this week’s Houston Newsmakers Extra

Learn why Dr. King was not his biggest influence in involving the church in social issues, why black ministers were warned not to allow King in their pulpits and why King went there anyway and much more.  

'March for Our Lives' student leaders on success, push back and what’s next

As students across the country took part in last weekend’s "March for Our Lives" protests, an estimated 15,000 turned out in Houston to support the cause.

Students here say their effort was 99% students, and Marcel McClinton is one of them.  

A junior at Stratford High School, he was on the media relations committee and is excited about what’s next.  

“Having 15,000 Houstonians was incredible. It was monumental for me and for everyone who showed up and just the kick-start for a lifelong battle," he said.

Manju Bangalore is a student at the University of Oregon but is in Houston completing an internship at NASA. Away from those responsibilities, she was one of the executive organizers of the Houston "March for our Lives" and says the goal is not to repeal the 2nd Amendment.

“I think there’s been miscommunication and we’re trying to bridge that divide. We’re not trying to take away anyone’s guns. We’re just here for gun reform, not control.”

30th annual McDonald’s Houston Children’s Fest to benefit neglected children

For two days next weekend, 16 city blocks will be taken over by the McDonald’s Houston Children’s Festival, which will benefit Child Advocates Inc.

This is the 30th year of the event that has raised more than $5.5 million for what 20-year volunteer Chastiti Horne says is an incredibly important organization. 

"We have children who have never been told they’re beautiful, they’re smart, they’re kind, they’re talented,” she said. "That’s what I want to do as a volunteer, to make sure those kids feel the love from someone.”

More information 

  • Rev. William A Lawson
    • Phone:713-741-3600
  • Manju Bangalore, "March for Our Lives" Houston, executive organizer
  • Marcel McClinton, "March for Our Lives" Houston, media relations
    • email:
    • Twitter: @MFOLHouston
  • Kelly St. Mary, sponsorship director, McDonald’s Houston Children’s Festival
    • Twitter: @HouChildrenFest
    • Email:
  • Chastiti Horne, volunteer, Child Advocates Inc.
    • Twitter: @ChildAdvoHou
    • Phone: 713-529-1396

About the Author:

Journalist, meteorologist, community leader and volunteer.