Troy Athens High School to Celebrate MLK on Monday

As the nation recognizes Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, here's a look at the civil rights leader's Michigan connections.

On Monday morning at Troy's Athens High School, the community will participate in the 2013 “MLK – A Celebration of Freedom,” a tribute to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. event.

Keynote Speaker Richard Gleason, one of the Freedom Riders from the 1960s, marched with King in the South and in Chicago. The celebration will include music performances by the Troy Athens High School Magic! & Concert Choir, “A Celebration of Diversity.” A dance performance will be presented by the MLK Dancers sponsored by the Troy African American Parent Network (TAAPN).

The free program, at 4333 John R, begins at 8:30 a.m. Donations will be accepted for next year's event.

 “We look forward to capturing the spirit of Dr. King and remembering his life through this celebration,” Cindy Stewart, community affairs director for the City of Troy said in a press release. “This community event is a meaningful way to pause and reflect on his uncompromising dedication to garnering civil rights for all people.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. left his mark during his lifetime as a civil rights activist, including a couple stops in the Detroit area.

Five ways King is tied to Michigan:

1. Original Dream Speech - King first delievered the "I have a Dream" speech to a crowd of 150,000 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, two months before the famous rendention in during the March on Washington in 1963.

2. Historical Recording - The original version of the "Dream" speech was recorded by Gordy Records, a subsidiary of Motown Records in Detroit.

3. Rosa Parks Bus - When she refused to give up her seat to a white person on a public bus in 1955, Rosa Parks, a tired black seamstress, sparked the civil rights movement that King led. That bus remains one of the most visited exhibits in Dearborn's Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.

4. Visit to Grosse Pointe - In 1968, King gave a speech to a crowd of 2,700 at what is now Grosse Pointe South High School, according to the Grosse Pointe Historical Society. He was assasinated three weeks later.

5. MLK Symposium - Monday will mark the 27th annual MLK symposium at the University of Michigan. Each year the university focuses on a topic related to King in an effort to "remember the work and legacy of Dr. King." This year's theme is 50 Years Later (R) Evolution of the Dream.


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