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Ovide Duncantell protesting the removal the tree honoring Dr. King
Mentor and Friend
Ovide Duncantell was my friend and it started when I was turning 17. After finishing high school at age 16, many forgot I was a child. Being more than 6 feet tall, well-spoken and a good student, I was still a kid. However, I am grateful for me like Ovide Duncantell who supported my education into politics and still knew hands-off.
As a Freshman in college, a lot was happening as it related to the civil rights movement. Discrimination was still a leading issue, and one was not letting Prairie View students vote in the county was one of them. As a young person, I had the opportunity to speak before the Texas Democratic Convention to this issue. As a young person who was not able to vote yet, I told the audience that being able to vote was second on my list after being given a driver’s license. I talked about the value of knowing that I get to serve my country by electing officials who were for the community in which I lived. The person who gave me a high five was Ovide Duncantell and a year or so later, he reached out to me to be a part of the creation of the Texas Black Political Caucus.
I believe Ovide saw in me the future for our community and for that reason, I offer thanks and appreciation. As a young person, I had the opportunity to have met and worked with individuals like Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland, and others who helped to shape my life with what they gave me in the present. Mr. Duncantell did that for me, supporting my inclusion into the workings of politics, my commitment to it. The day I went to that meeting, he gave me the job of “secretary” as he and others, taught me what it meant to organize. Later, my son and his father walked through South Park to get signatures to change South Park Boulevard to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Over the years, I have made it my responsibility to work with him whenever the need arose (and there are plenty of stories to tell). This is one of the measurements of Duncantell’s life; a man who built bridges not walls, and created new generations of those of us committed to community.