Stateside's conversation with Lynne Settles, an art teacher at Ypsilanti High School, and Christy Witkowski, a senior at the school
There is extra special importance to this Martin Luther King Day in Ypsilanti.
Remarkably, it was 150 years ago on this day that abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass spoke in Ypsilanti – one of three visits Douglass made to the town.
Today, Ypsilanti High School students are marking both MLK Day and the Douglass visit with a silent march to the site of that speech that happened in 1867. In commemoration, they’re also opening an art exhibit.
For many Americans, the life of Martin Luther King Jr. means mostly that they get a day off from work or school, a day in which the banks are closed and the mail doesn’t come.
They may also know him as a one-dimensional icon of the civil rights movement, who repeatedly said “I have a dream,” during some famous speech a long time ago, and also said, “I may not get there with you, but we as a people will get to the promised land,” and then got shot.
"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred." - MLK
If you want a moment of reflection today, you could save this for 3 p.m.
At that time 50 years ago today, Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have a Dream Speech" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His speech came during the centennial of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
Bell-ringing events around Michigan are scheduled for 3 p.m. today. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is helping to coordinate these events.
Fifty years ago this weekend in Detroit, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. previewed his “I Have a Dream” speech before the historic March on Washington. This morning, Detroiters honored the occasion with a modern civil rights march.
Detroit's Martin Luther King Jr. High School's band led thousands of marchers down Woodward Avenue to Hart Plaza where scheduled speakers included King's son and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
The Living Room is our on-going storytelling series produced by Allison Downey and Zak Rosen. Today's show: Beyond the Dream, 50 years later.
August 28th marks the 50th anniversary of what might be the most celebrated political gathering in our nation's history. Close to a quarter of a million people poured onto the Washington Mall to show their solidarity with the growing Civil Rights Movement. It was The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The March might be best known as the venue where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now iconic I Have a Dream Speech.
But he didn't debut the speech in Washington D.C.
King gave an earlier version of his now famous speech in Detroit, on June 23rd of 1963. Some Detroiters contend that the events of that weekend are just as relevant, if not more so, than the March on Washington.
The Detroit Walk to Freedom was organized by the The Detroit Council for Human Rights. It was conceived as a way to commemorate the race riot that took place in the city 20 years earlier. But it was also an event to protest the current state of race and economic relations both in the urban north and the American south.
Living Room Producer Zak Rosen spoke with a handful of Detroiters who were at the gathering in June of '63.
It'll be 50 years ago in August when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now iconic "I have a Dream Speech." But King gave an earlier version of that speech on June 23rd, 1963 in Detroit. We took a look back to the events during that address that some Detroiters say was just as important as the March on Washington.
And, as the first day of summer rears its head, Michigan Radio's sports commentator joined us to remember summers past.
And, we spoke with a Michigan poet who has built his own version of Stonehenge just north of Traverse City.
Also, author and shipwreck explorer Valerie Van Heest joined us to discuss the mystery behind a plane crash that occurred over the Great Lakes 63 years ago.
First on the show, it's Thursday. Time for our weekly check-in with Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes.
As the story of Detroit's possible---and many say likely---bankruptcy continues to unfold, we keep hearing that many people are going to feel financial hardship. And when you look at all the possible parties who will be feeling the pain, it seems that some of the most vulnerable are city retirees.
Daniel Howes joined us in the studio today to discuss what bankruptcy will mean for Detroit residents.
Just as his father did fifty years ago, Martin Luther King III will address an expected march of thousands in Detroit.
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.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Events across Michigan this week are honoring the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 50th anniversary of his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Michigan State University's College of Music is hosting two free concerts honoring King on Sunday at Wharton Center's Pasant Theatre in East Lansing. The concerts will feature pop, soul and gospel hits from the 1960s and 1970s at 3 and 7 p.m.
Detroit Public Schools is launching a day of service to celebrate King's birthday Monday.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday would have been today. This may surprise you, since his “official” birthday is next Monday. We celebrate it then, so some people can have a long weekend.
My guess is that for millions of Americans, the meaning of the Martin Luther King Junior holiday is that the banks and post offices are closed and kids get a day off from school. I also suspect strongly that the great civil rights leader wouldn’t have liked being turned into a sanitized plastic icon.
He spent a fair amount of time in Michigan. He led a huge freedom march in Detroit two months before the famous one in Washington, and tried out a version of the “I have a dream” speech at Cobo Hall. That was half a century ago this summer.
MLK has now been dead longer than he was alive, and it is easy to forget how young he was. Had he not caught that bullet on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, King could easily still be alive and giving presidents hell.
He would have been 84 today. That’s the same age as John Conyers, who is still in Congress. King was about five years younger than Avern Cohn, who is still serving with distinction as a federal judge in Detroit. But King died at the ridiculously young age of 39.
Hundreds of people descended on Detroit’s Martin Luther King, Junior high school Monday morning for a march honoring the civil rights leader.
It was just one of many events honoring Dr. King that took place around Metro Detroit.
Hundreds of people came out for the third annual Detroit Public Schools-sponsored march, many of them students. But some adults, like Alicia Gassiamo, came to honor a figure whose sacrifices they say made a real difference in their lives.
Last year at this time, I was sifting through YouTube videos of Martin Luther King, Jr. and was amazed at the treasure trove out there.
For some, the man whose words are immortalized, who we celebrate with a holiday, seems untouchable - buried in the pages of history books.
But when you watch these videos, Martin Luther King, Jr. comes to life. As I mentioned last year:
We can watch video of his interviews on Meet the Press. We can see King tell a joke on a talk show. We can see what he said in a speech the night before he was killed, and we can watch Walter Cronkite tell the nation that the man who helped change our society was dead.
Here's another video I came across today. It includes excerpts of an interview King did with NBC correspondent Tom Petit. The interview aired on NBC on May 7, 1967 as part of its program "The Frank McGee Sunday Report: Martin Luther King Profile."
During the interview King explains his reasons for opposing the Vietnam War.
He says he decided to publicly oppose the war after several months of reflection - part of that reflection, he says, took place in Jamaica as he was writing a book.
"I came to the conclusion then, that I had no alternative but to take a vigorous stand against the war."
King said the Vietnam war "is doing a great deal to destroy the lives of thousands and thousands of my brothers and sisters. We are dying physically in disproportionate numbers in Vietnam, some 22 and four tenths percent, even though we are only 11 percent of the population."
The video ends with a excerpt from a speech King gave in Cleveland on April 28,1967 about his decision to oppose the "evil war" in Vietnam.
He says, "And no matter where it leads, no matter what abuses it may bring, I'm gonna tell the truth."
In Lansing, volunteers are clearing invasive plant species from the Fenner Nature Center. Brendon Fegan is an Americorps volunteer. He says helping your local community is a great way to honor Dr. King’s legacy.
"Community is vitally important in people’s lives," said Fegan, "You can’t do anything without a strong community. Look for anyway to give back to your community and help other people.”
The King holiday is also being marked by marches and church services around Michigan.
Hundreds of labor union supporters rallied against attacks on collective bargaining rights in Detroit Monday.
The rally was one of dozens nationwide commemorating Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination.
King was killed during a 1968 trip to Memphis to support that city’s striking black sanitation workers. National labor leaders are highlighting this lesser-known part of King’s legacy as they fight new state laws that restrict unions’ collective bargaining rights.
Canton resident Natalie Mosher came to the downtown Detroit rally. She says Governor Snyder and state Republicans have gone too far.
"I’m here to support all working people. I was a former teacher and I think what is happening in Michigan today is just not acceptable.”
The Governor recently signed a bill granting Emergency Financial Managers broad powers, including the right to throw out union contracts.
Former Delphi worker Stacey Kemp drove from near Saginaw to attend the rally. Kemp says everyone should be concerned about the many new state laws that restrict workers’ right to collective bargaining.
“Whether they’re union or non-union, this is going to directly affect all middle and working-class people. If they’re allowed to get away with this, we might as well just kiss our grandchildren goodbye, and they’re going to live in a third-world country.”
The AFL-CIO and other organizers say the King-inspired rallies are part of a continued campaign to fight that law and similar measures in other states.
Last week I talked to a woman in an accounting office about an issue involving an electronic tax payment.
“I’ll take care of that Monday,” she told me.
"I don’t think you can," I said. "Monday is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday."
“What?“ she said. “Oh, that. I don’t celebrate that,” she said with a tone of annoyance.
It wasn’t her holiday, she wanted me to know, and she thought it was highly inappropriate for anybody to get a day off, and for government offices and banks to be closed.
You won’t be surprised to learn that she wasn’t African-American. Nor that she didn’t know much, really, about Dr. Martin Luther King. However, I’m not sure that a lot of the people who do enthusiastically celebrate it know much about him either.
The recent attempt on Representative Gabrielle Giffords life sparked new debate about the state of public discourse in our country. How could this have happened? What does this type of violence say about us? Have we reached a breaking point?
As the news rolled in, and it appears the violence might have been the work of a mad-man, hearts were still broken, but there seemed to be some relief that the act seemed less about our politics, and more about a lost soul.
Events like these are unsettling, and it often makes me wonder what it was like for Americans when the violence was more directly tied to our political discourse.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis in 1968. Violent riots followed in what surely must've felt like an unraveling of American society.