MLK Caravan: Lessons Of Life And History On A 22-Mile Drive

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RENO, NV - Tens of thousands drive the stretch of U-S 395/I580 through the Truckee Meadows every day. It's likely few take note that it is also the Martin Luther King Jr. Highway.

There are thousands of such roadways across the nation. Few of those tributes were so hard won as the four signs along the 22 miles of this freeway.

For years, the late Reverend Onie Cooper petitioned local officials to rename a local street for King, only to be turned away. Finally, then Governor Bob Miller stepped in and put King's name on a portion of this highway.

And to remind people of that designation and King's legacy, each year Cooper would lead a caravan up and down the highway's length.

It may seem an odd way to honor the civil rights leader, but there are lessons in following this tradition.

That's why Keith Pearson brought his daughters for the drive and more.

"We don't want to forget Dr. King and we don't want to forget the wonderful things he did," says Pearson.. "And this is one way to talk about it.

Lauren, 9, and Kennedy,12, say they've learned a lot about Dr. King from their parents, but wish there was more talk of him at school.

On this day they'll learn some lessons hands-on the caravan, following Dr. King's example by caring for the less fortunate, volunteering to help feed the homeless at the local shelter.

"We just try to make it a day of giving back to the community by doing some charitable work," says Pearson. "It's truly what King talked about and preached about."

Local observances wind up with the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society's annual Martin Luther King Day dinner at the Nugget.