Voting Rights Decision Adds Urgency to the Mobilization for the 50th Anniversary of the Historic March on Washington: Original Legacy Organizations & Social Change Groups Make Plans to Celebrate the 1963 I Have A Dream Speech


Atlanta, GA (June 24, 2013) . . . Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s  I Have A Dream Speech resonates with renewed urgency as a national coalition prepares to observe the 50th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington.  In the midst of the planning process by the new Coalition for Jobs, Justice and Freedom,  the US Supreme Court has effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The action by the court has energized the Coalition’s mobilization of the 5-day commemoration of the historic 1963 March on Washington and Dr. King's historic address.

 “The King Center has partnered with the legacy organizations, which helped to mobilize the original 1963 March on Washington, other civil and human rights organizations, including the National Action Network, as well as the National Park Service to develop the plans we are announcing today,” said King Center C.E.O. Bernice A. King in announcing the plans for the 50th anniversary observance. Our coalition hopes to make the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and my father’s famous 'I Have a Dream' speech a meaningful experience which addresses the urgent causes of jobs, justice and freedom, “Join with us in celebrating freedom – freedom to participate in government, freedom to prosper in life and freedom to peacefully co-exist.” 

On Saturday, August 24, in addition to the March, the Global Freedom Festival will open on the mall, and will include four days of education, entertainment and activities that focus on advancing the three freedoms previously mentioned, provided by individuals and organizations from throughout the world.

On Monday and Tuesday, August 25-26, there will be several initiatives that focus on educating the next generation of youth. These include The King Center's ‘King Global Leadership Summit,’ which will engage college students throughout the world; and educational initiatives led by the National Park Services.

The culmination of the 50th commemoration will take place on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, the actual anniversary of the March and the "I Have a Dream” speech.  At 9:00 am, the coalition will host an interfaith service, featuring tributes from children and adult representatives of all major faiths at the foot of the King Memorial.        

Starting at 1:00 pm, the ‘Let Freedom Ring Global Commemoration and Celebration will take place in remembrance of the "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The day will consist of entertainment and tributes by elected officials, dignitaries, celebrities, youth and leaders from national and international organizations.

One of the most exciting highlights of the day will be the 'Let Freedom Ring' Bell Ringing at 3:00 p.m. EST. On August 28th, the exact time and date, when Dr. King shared his great dream of hope, healing and brotherhood with our nation and world, we are also calling on every state of the union to join with us in ringing bells at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and in different time zones around the world.

The 50th Anniversary Coalition includes the 'Legacy Organizations' which convened the 1963 March on Washington: the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); the National Urban League (NUL); and the A. Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI), plus the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). In addition, The King Center, the National Action Network, the National Park Service and more than 20 other human rights and social change organizations are actively involved in this mobilization movement.

“Our World, His Dream: Freedom – Make it Happen” is the theme for the five-day commemoration of the I Have A Dream speech. Endorsed and supported by the 50th Anniversary Coalition for Jobs, Justice and Freedom, this theme is undergirded by the three sub-themes: “Freedom to Prosper in Life;”  “Freedom to Peacefully Co-Exist;” and “Freedom to Participate in Government.”

For more information about the 50th Anniversary of the I Have A Dream speech, please contact The King Center (Atlanta, GA) at 404-526-8944, or visit the website  To stay in touch with details, participate with the following:  Twitter; Facebook; Pinterest; and Intstagram mlkdream50.  The Hashtag is  #mlkdream50.





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