Ovide Duncantell, Jr., the founder of the Black Heritage Society, has died at the age of 82.
Duncantell founded the organization in 1974 and served as executive director. He was one of the driving forces behind renaming a major Houston street as Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Duncantell also started the Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade.
The Black Heritage Society released this statement:
Civil Rights Activist Ovide Duncantell Jr. Founder of the Black Heritage Society and originator of America’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade has passed away at approx. 2:00pm today October 25, 2018. Mr. Duncantell has left an indelible mark on the City of Houston, the State of Texas and America respectively.
He was also the chief individual who envision and toiled for decades in order to gift the City of Houston and its Citizens the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Plaza, with the blessings of “Daddy King, Dr. King’s father who commissioned the MLK Tree of Life-the Houston MLK Memorial’s promise in Houston’s own MacGregor Park.
While there are many City policies he has affected and or changed. He is most notably known, by most seasoned politicians to change the prerequisites to run for office in the City of Houston and the State of Texas thereby leveling the playing field for African Americans and other Minorities who choose to run for office.
Mayor Sylvester Turner released the following statement following the death of Mr. Ovide Duncantell:
"Ovide Duncantell and I ran for County Commissioner in 1984, and we both came up short. However, his commitment to the community and holding people accountable never waned. Ovide Duncantell was the force behind the Black Heritage Society, and the Black Heritage Society was deeply rooted in him.
"With the Black Heritage Society, he honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by organizing the MLK Jr. Day Parade and many other events surrounding the MLK weekend.
"The MLK Jr. Day Parade this January (2019) sponsored by the Black Heritage Society and supported by the City of Houston will be extra special as we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and remember and thank Ovide Duncantell for living a rich life of service.