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Park Commemorates March On Washington Anniversary

National Park News

On August 17th, Martin Luther King, Jr., NHS in collaboration with The King Center, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta Public Schools, the City of Atlanta, Operation Hope and others presented the Atlanta Global Freedom Exposition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Congressman John Lewis served as the honorary chair of the event and spoke about his involvement in the 1963 March on Washington and the modern day Civil Rights Movement.  The expo also featured book signings by Dr. Christian Farris, Elder Bernice King and other King Family members. 

Other activities included:

  • A town hall meeting discussing voting rights;
  • Oral history interviews with several 1963 March on Washington participants;
  • Exhibitors, including a health and wellness analysis;
  • A youth village featuring storytelling and a teen talk;
  • The premiere showing of PBS documentary film “March” moderated by Denzel Washington; and
  • A closing signature  ceremony “candlelight flotilla” which invited event attendees to place floating candles in the reflecting pool surrounding the crypt of Dr. and Mrs. King.

Another highlight of the day was the showcasing of a Civil Rights-era bus by MARTA. The totally restored bus, first purchased in 1956, originally belonged to the Atlanta Transit System, a precursor to MARTA. The vehicle is reminiscent of transit coaches that were typical in Atlanta and other segregated Southern cities, including Montgomery, Alabama, where civil rights pioneers such as Rosa Parks launched a watershed movement with a simple but profound act of civil disobedience.

On August 28th, fifty years to the date of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom the local community gathered in the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Heritage Sanctuary as part of a national effort to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic march.  The brief “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony concluded with a bell ringing tribute to Dr. King’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech. 


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