May 24, 2023
The Detroit Branch of the NAACP has revealed its plans for the upcoming June Jubilee weekend, dedicated to commemorating the 60th anniversary of the historic Detroit Walk to Freedom alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Taking place from Thursday, June 22, to Sunday, June 25, the weekend will feature a series of meaningful events.
This upcoming celebration of freedom is set to ignite the pulse of the city, united to celebrate an anniversary that holds profound historical significance. It is a time to remember the pivotal moments that altered the course of history, starting with Dr. King’s impactful speech delivered just 14 days before he spoke his last sermon on hope, and 14 days prior to his tragic assassination in Memphis, Tennessee.
Kicking off on Thursday, June 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., freedom summits will be held at the northwest campus of Wayne County Community College District. These summits will engage in discussions surrounding voter mobilization, registration and protection, the civil rights movement, labor, and other crucial topics.
On Friday, June 23, there will be a special ceremony to unveil a permanent commemorative statue of Dr. King in collaboration with the City of Detroit. This statue will be prominently placed in Hart Plaza, serving as a lasting tribute.
The highlight of the weekend will be the 60th Commemorative Freedom Walk, scheduled for Saturday, June 24. The march will commence at 10 a.m. at Woodward Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., proceeding south along Woodward Ave. towards Hart Plaza. Following the march, a significant rally will take place, amplifying the spirit of unity and progress. WXYZ will provide live coverage of the march, ensuring a broader audience can participate in this historic event.
On Sunday, June 25, the 68th annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner will feature Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock as the keynote speaker. The dinner, set to begin at 5 p.m. at Huntington Place, will be a remarkable occasion, with additional esteemed guests to be announced in the coming weeks.
“We extend a warm invitation to everyone across the state and the region to join us in this national event,” emphasized Anthony during the press conference. “The June Jubilee Celebration represents a powerful demonstration of our commitment to freedom and justice. By uniting Civil Rights Leaders, Activists, Businesses, Faith-based organizations, Labor unions, Corporations, and our political leadership, we can forge a path towards a more perfect union.”
Mayor Duggan added, “Dr. King’s momentous March down Woodward Avenue in June 1963 marked a pivotal turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. It was during this march that Dr. King delivered the initial version of his iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, which he later echoed on the National Mall. I commend Rev. Anthony and the Detroit Branch NAACP for organizing this series of events to honor this historic moment in our city’s history. I encourage all Detroiters to actively participate in this year’s March Down Woodward.”
In June 1963, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led an awe-inspiring assembly of approximately 25,000 individuals to Cobo Hall. Accompanied by Reverend CL Franklin, who extended the invitation, UAW President Walter Luthor, and numerous others, Dr. King conveyed a powerful message about equality, inspired by the vision he saw in his dreams. It was during this momentous occasion that the world first heard Dr. King deliver his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, words that have become synonymous with his name and continue to resonate with future generations.
The recreation of the anniversary march, occurring nearly 60 years later, will serve as a profound moment for our city. Just like the original march, it welcomes all individuals who carry peace, love in their hearts, and reject discrimination. Together, we will embark on a symbolic walk to Hart Plaza, commencing from the street that now proudly bears Dr. King’s name. This momentous occasion holds tremendous significance for our community.
The Detroit Branch of the NAACP extends an open invitation to individuals from across the state and the region to partake in this momentous occasion. Together, we can make a profound impact and commemorate the legacy of the Freedom Walk for generations to come.