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April 4th Commemoration


A calendar of events commemorating the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Civil Rights Museum

This week, photos said to have been taken by photographer Gil Michael and overlooked for decades in the Shelby County archives were released in advance of the anniversary by the Shelby County Register. This photo, which ran on the front page of the Tri-State Defender on July 27, 1968, shows then-suspect James Earl Ray being escorted by then-Sheriff Bill Morris. It is included in the collection and was the one photo released to the media at the time. The public can view the photos and hear audio files at http://register.shelby.tn.us/media/mlk.

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.  Each year to commemorate his assassination the National Civil Rights Museum presents special programming with music, litany or vigil.

In the theme of its 20th Anniversary, the Museum’s focus is to continue to “Connect People and History” with a two-day commemoration program in which the community plays a vital role in honoring Dr. King’s legacy.

Sunday April 3

• 1:15 p.m.: Film Screening of “At the River I Stand,” a documentary that recounts the two months leading to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death in 1968, coinciding with the 65-day strike of 1300 Memphis sanitation workers.

• 3:30 p.m.: Student winners from the India Community Fund Essay Contest will read their winning essays on peace and non-violence.

• 4 p.m.: the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Tribute to Dr. King in the courtyard, weather permitting. The fraternity will lay a wreath, sing the Alpha hymn and offer a prayer. The Alpha’s national president, Herman Mason, will speak.

• 7 p.m.: “At the River I Stand” documentary, sponsored by AFSCME.  The movie will be shown in the Museum’s Founders Park, with popcorn and sodas.  Bring blankets or lawn chairs.  Free to the Public. *Rain contingency–film will be shown in Museum.

Monday, April 4

• 10 a.m.: 43rd Annual March sponsored by American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). March begins at Local 1733, 485 Beale Street. Food, entertainment and community tables from noon – 2 p.m.  RSVP for attendance or booth at 901-525-2458.

• Noon: Recorded speech broadcast in the courtyard. “The Mountaintop” speech will broadcast at 5 p.m. Visitors are welcome to leave memorials to King in the courtyard.

• Noon & 2 p.m.: “Citizen King,” is a two-hour documentary that explores the last five years of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. Personal recollections and eyewitness accounts of friends, movement associates, journalists, law enforcement officers, and historians highlight little-known chapter of one of America’s most influential moral leaders. Movie screening begins at noon and is free, but does not include museum tour.

• 3 p.m.–5 p.m.: Free period will be observed for Tennessee residents with identification.

April 4th Foundation banquet to honor Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright and Charles Patrick

 Rev. Jeremiah Wright
The April 4th Foundation’s 11th Annual Commemorative Awards Banquet is Monday, April 4th at 6:30 p.m. in the Memphis Cook Convention Center at 255 N. Main St.

On the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, the Foundation will commemorate the slain civil rights leader’s life by honoring civil rights activist Charles Patrick with the Open Door Award and the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright with the I Am A Man Award.

White, pastor Emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago from 1972 to early 2008, will be the keynote speaker. With White at the helm, the church grew from 250 members to a mega church of over 6,000 members, becoming the largest church in the United Church of Christ denomination. While there, he founded “Ministers in Training” (M.I.T.) and he has been an ongoing national leader in promoting theological education and the preparation of seminarians for the African-American church.

The 94-year-old Patrick will be honored his civil rights activism and bravery. In 1954, Patrick was attacked by three Birmingham, Ala. police officers after admonishing a white woman who stole his parking space. He later successfully sued the Birmingham Police Department in federal court. His story is told in the book, “Speak Truth to Power: The Story of Charles Patrick, a Civil Rights Pioneer” by Mignette Y. Patrick Dorsey.

Tickets for banquet are $100, with table purchases also available. Proceeds will support the Foundation’s annual Footsteps Youth Leadership Summit on Civil Rights. The April 4th Foundation’s executive director is Johnson Saulsberry. For more information, call 901-859-3364.

Andrew Young to speak at The New Olivet Baptist Church on Sunday, April 3

Civil rights icon and former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young will visit The New Olivet Baptist Church on Sunday, April 3,

Young will speak at the 11 a.m. worship service at the church at 3084 Southern Avenue. The Rev. Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr. is host pastor.

Former South African freedom fighter plans 2-day visit to Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church

On Monday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in commemoration of the 43rd Anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, in conjunction with Memphis Theological Seminary, will host a lecture by Dr. Allan A. Boesak, former freedom fighter and leader in the anti-apartheid effort in South Africa.

This event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Boesak is an articulate, passionate and gifted orator and preacher. During the era of apartheid in South Africa, he ranked as one of the most influential spokesmen (against apartheid) for non-white South Africans.

A co-founder of the multiracial United Democratic Front (UDF), the force behind many nonviolent demonstrations against apartheid, he was a leading opponent of apartheid then and continues to be a spiritual and political force in South Africa. His life’s work has been that of a reformer, human rights activist and ordained minister.

Also, on Sunday, April 3, Dr. Allan A. Boesak will be the guest preacher at the East and Midtown campuses of The Blvd. At 8:30 a.m., he will speak at The Blvd at 6745 Wolf River Parkway, and at 10 a.m. at The Blvd Midtown at 70 North Bellevue.

The Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas  is the senior servant. For more information, call 729-6222.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wreath laying ceremony

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Delta Lambda Chapter of Memphis will commemorate the life and death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the annual wreath laying ceremony in the courtyard of the National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry Street, on Sunday, April 3 at 3:30 p.m.

The General President of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., Herman “Skip” Mason Jr. of Atlanta will be the key program speaker as he reflects on the 43rd anniversary of Dr. King’s death at the historical site.

The event is part of a larger program of fraternity events leading up to the August 28 dedication of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.  The building of the Memorial has been spearheaded by the efforts of the fraternity of which Dr. King was a member.  The King Memorial is located on the Washington Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial.

For more information, Darryl J. Arbor, Chairman of the 2011 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, at 901-482-0035 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

U of M to present MLK Human Rights Award and Scholarship April 4

The University of Memphis will present the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Award to Dr. Vivian Gunn Morris in a ceremony on Monday, April 4, at 2 p.m. in the University Center Theatre. The award recognizes individuals whose activities exemplify non-violent leadership in the pursuit of social justice and human rights.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship also will be awarded at the ceremony. The 2011 recipient is Tishira Lamari Smith, a senior majoring in African and African-American studies. She is the daughter of Dora and Willie Rogers Jr.

 Dr. Morris is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in research and scholarship. She has also presented her work to national, state and local organizations to advance the merits of providing a high quality education for African-American children and other children of color.

She has published books, book chapters, and articles on the topics of urban education, early childhood education, family involvement in education, mentoring new teachers, and educating African-American children. Her research related to the education of African-American children appears in two books she co-authored with her husband, Curtis L. Morris: “The Price They Paid: Desegregation in an African American Community” and “Creating Caring and Nurturing Educational Environments for African American Children.” Related articles have been published in a variety of national and international journals.

Morris is a veteran P-12 teacher and is currently professor of education, assistant dean for Faculty and Staff Development in the College of Education, and director of the New Teacher Center at the University of Memphis.

The public event is sponsored by African and African-American Studies and the Office of Diversity at the U of M.  For more information, call 901-678-3516.

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