Arts & Culture
3:15 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Commemorative Freedom Walk celebrates 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. speech

Just as his father did fifty years ago, Martin Luther King III will address an expected march of thousands in Detroit.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at Cobo Hall in Detroit, June 22, 1963.
Credit 50th Anniversary Freedom Walk Facebook Page

This year Detroit celebrates the 50th anniversary of the day Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood before 25,000 people at Cobo Hall in Detroit and declared, "I have a dream this afternoon." This was just two months before the historic March on Washington.

On June 22, participants will march the same historic Woodward Avenue route people walked in 1963. The commemorative Freedom Walk will begin at Woodward and Forest and end at Hart Plaza for the following rally.

The Freedom Walk rally will feature guests including King's advisor Rev. C.T. Vivian, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Congressman John Lewis and comedian Dick Gregory.

"This is not just a local march," said Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the NAACP branch in Detroit, "It's a national march."

There will be a special line in the march and a tribute for those who walked fifty years ago, whom Anthony calls the "'63-ers."

However, the Freedom Walk is more than honoring a memory.

The walk is intended to influence issues of equality today.

The original march down Woodward Ave in 1963
Credit 50th Anniversary Freedom Walk Facebook Page

"Ending racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and those kinds of concerns," Anthony explained, " working to stop youth violence, and putting the 'neighbor' back in neighborhood."

Voices for Action is a series of panel discussions held in conjunction with the march. It will be held the day before, on Friday, June 21 at the UAW-Ford National Programs Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"This is not a NAACP march," Anthony said, " This is not a labor march. We want every ethnic group, we want everyone educated or non-educated, employed or unemployed, to be a part of this."

-Alana Holland, Michigan Radio Newsroom