OU Marks 50th Anniversary Of King’s March On Washington

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As many flock to our nation’s capital Wednesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 civil-rights demonstration, Athens residents and Ohio University students alike will be gathering on campus to honor and reflect upon one of the most historical events in American history.     

The event held at OU’s Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium will include images, recordings, video and music. Larry Griffin of Cappriccio Vocal Ensemble in Columbus will narrate a group reading of King's, “I Have a Dream” speech, and community members, some of whom attended the march 50 years ago, will also speak.  

(Watch the full video of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech here)

One of the speakers is Dr. Francine Childs, professor emerita in the Department of African American Studies and a longtime advocate for social justice. She met King in 1956 and marched on Washington in 1963.

“[Commemorating the anniversary is] important to Athens because it’s important to the world,” Childs said. “Everything Dr. King fought and died for is still alive.”

Childs said some of the issues that were prominent in Athens at that time are the same issues our nation faces today – problems of racial and gender inequalities, a struggling economy and poverty.  

Childs hopes the event will “open the eyes of young people,” and discourage them from being bystanders when confronting injustices.

“I have a sense that none of us can afford to party as long as any of us have deferred dreams,” she said.  

Wednesday's event is a collaboration of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, University College, Residential Housing, the College of Fine Arts, the School of Music and the Campus Involvement Center. It will be held from 7 p.m.  to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public.