March on Washington anniversary to be observed

January 16, 2014

Events at Emporia State University and in the Emporia community will honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and mark the 50th anniversary of his March on Washington.

Monday’s celebration begins at 10:45 a.m. with a free children’s program in Webb Hall of the Memorial Union at Emporia State. The event continues until 1 p.m. and includes a free lunch for participating children.

The celebration continues at 5:15 p.m. with the annual Martin Luther King march, which begins at the Granada Theater in the 800 block of Commercial Street and ending at First Friends Church, Sixth Avenue and Sylvan Street.

A free dinner will be served at First Friends Church beginning at 5:45 p.m. The dinner is sponsored by East Side Community Group, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, First Congregational Church, First Friends Church and the United Methodist Churches of Hartford and Neosho Rapids.

The program begin at 7 p.m. with the Rev. T. La Mont Holder, pastor of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Wichita, speaking and special music by the Emporia Gospel Singers directed by Kenjo Bolden and the youth choir of St. James Missionary Baptist Church directed by Tara Iverson.

Emporia State University is closed Monday for the federal holiday.

After students return to campus — classes begin Wednesday, Jan. 22 — Emporia State will be the site of four movie screenings, lectures, discussion forms and scholarly presentations to mark the anniversary of the March on Washington.

“Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history. NEH has partnered with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to develop programmatic and support materials for the sites.

Emporia State University is one of 473 institutions across the country awarded a set of four films chronicling the history of the civil rights movement. The powerful documentaries, “The Abolitionists,” “Slavery by Another Name,” “Freedom Riders” and “The Loving Story,” include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. “Freedom Riders” received an Emmy in 2012, and “The Loving Story” and “The Abolitionists” were nominated for Emmys in 2013. 

Emporia State’s Office of Multicultural Affairs program will feature:

  • “Freedom Riders” on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. in Preston Family Room, Memorial Union;
  • “The Loving Story” on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m.  at the Emporia Public Library, Large Meeting Room;
  • “The Abolitionists” on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. in Preston Family Room, Memorial Union; and
  • “Slavery by Another Name” on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. in the Learning Commons of White Library on the ESU campus.

“These films chronicle the long and sometimes violent effort to achieve the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — for all Americans,” said Jason Brooks, director of multicultural affairs at Emporia State. “We are pleased to receive a grant from NEH to provide programming around these films.

Along with the grant, Emporia State University has the privilege in collaborating with the Emporia Public Library and Emporia State University White Library, said Brooks. 

“Lynette Olson, adult services coordinator at Emporia Public Library, and John Sheridan, dean of University Libraries and Archives, have been a fresh air to this process, and Emporia State University greatly appreciates their willingness in partnering with us during this monumental occasion.” 

Each of the films was produced with NEH support, and each tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation. “Created Equal” programs bring communities together to revisit our shared history and help bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American civic life. Visit www.neh.gov/created-equal for more information. 

The “Created Equal” film set is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

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