Black History Month: One TD employee’s family history with Martin Luther King Jr.

Every November, when Hugh Allen and his family gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, everyone sits down together at the table to dine on what is affectionately known as the Martin Luther King china. 

For Allen, the history of that dinnerware dates back to one night when he was four years old, at the height of the Civil Rights movement in the United States, when Martin Luther King Jr. came to his family's Houston home for dinner.

Allen's mother grew up walking to school alongside Rev. King, and Allen's maternal grandfather owned a Chevron gas station across the street from the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Sr. was the Reverend.

READ: Building legacy through a celebration of black voices

Ever since, the china used at that dinner has become a treasured possession for Hugh and his siblings.

"Every Thanksgiving, our tradition is to use that china for a Thanksgiving dinner, and we use it symbolically as remembrance for the things we should be thankful for," said Allen, who is TD's Senior Vice President & Commercial Real Estate, South Division Head in Charlotte, NC.

In celebration of Black History Month, across the U.S. and Canada, TD is celebrating the messages of Black Excellence and leaving a legacy, values that are reflected in The Ready Commitment, our own corporate social responsibility blueprint, which is designed to help open doors for a more inclusive tomorrow.

In the video above, Allen shares his memories of his family's legacy and its deep connections to the leaders of the Civil Rights movement, as well as his thoughts on the work and sacrifices his parents and previous generations of family members made to enable his success.