The city of Southfield and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force will host the 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Peace Walk Celebration on Monday, January 19 beginning at 9 a.m. at Hope United Methodist Church, 26275 Northwestern Highway.
The peace walk will depart from Hope United at 9:45 a.m., followed by an 11 a.m. program at the Southfield Pavilion, located in the Southfield Municipal Complex, 26000 Evergreen Road. The program will include remarks from Acting Council President Sylvia Jordan, 46th District Court Judge Shelia Johnson, MLK Task Force founder Barbara Talley and current MLK Task Force President Dorothy Dean, Esq. Famed civil rights attorney, preacher and activist Fred Gray, Esq. will serve as the keynote speaker with his presentation “Embracing the Legacy of Dr. King: Standing Up for Justice.” Mr. Gray served as the President of the National Bar Association in 1985, and was elected the first African-American President of the Alabama State Bar in 2001. During the civil rights movement, Gray came to prominence working with Martin Luther King, Jr. and E.D. Nixon, among others. In some of his first cases as a young Alabama attorney (and solo practitioner), Gray defended Claudette Colvin and later Rosa Parks, who were charged with disorderly conduct for refusing to seat themselves in the rear of city buses. Gray then represented the Montgomery Improvement Association during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955, which ultimately led to the United States Supreme Court to condemn bus segregation practices in Browder v. Gayle.
The event will also feature the Presentation of Colors by the Buffalo Soldiers, Tuskegee Airmen and Southfield Police & Fire Departments; a special appearance and performance by the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and American Idol finalist Malaya Watson. The program will conclude with the presentation of the 2014 MLK Community Service Award, the MLK Peace Pledge and the ringing of the Liberty Bell.
Southfield was the first city in the state of Michigan to hold a Dr. King peace walk or march. The first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Walk took place on January 20, 1986, commemorating the first national observance of Dr. King’s birthday. The walk continues to grow in size and scope each year, with year-long educational and community outreach activities.
For more information, call the MLK Task Force hotline at (248) 924-9MLK or visit www.mlktaskforcemi.org.