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Birmingham’s events to commemorate 50 years since death of Dr. King

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By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times

Several events are planned in Birmingham on April 4 to commemorate 50 years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) will host a “Dream Keeper” symposium from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The symposium, “Economic Justice and Transformative Innovation: Acknowledging the Past While Advancing the Future” will host 250 high school students from the Jefferson County area.

Students will learn how they can develop STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math) skills, and be inspired by innovation leaders discussing the topics of economic justice and transformative innovation.

Symposium participants will include: UAB Collat School of Business Professor, Anthony Hood, Shipt CFO and Co-founder, Jeff Smith, STREAM Innovation Founder, Adrienne Starks, Southern Poverty Law Center Economic Justice Team Member, Sara Wood, The Plug Data Journalist (Charlotte, NC), Sherrell Dorsey

Later that evening, the SCLC will host an awards banquet at the Sheraton Grand Ballroom at 7 p.m. The celebration, entitled “A Golden Halo Commemoration fit for a King,” will honor King’s legacy by honoring individuals who have continued doing his work.

The banquet will also honor Dr. King’s fights for equal justice and human rights.

2018 Award Recipients include: Alabama Native and Apple CEO, Tim Cook, Woke Vote Founder, DeJuana Thompson, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama President, Isabel Rubio, Birmingham Business Resource Center President, Robert Dickerson.

For more information about either event visit: http://bit.ly/keeperofthedream

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute also will commemorate the 50th Anniversary from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

FedEx is sponsoring the event, which will provide free admission to the public as well as other special events.  Additionally, there will be speakers, a libation ceremony and a moment of silence at 6:01 pm, the time of Dr. King’s assassination.

BCRI will also host a press conference to announce the significance of Dr. King’s legacy and the calendar of events to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life was about service to others and his message was one of equality and fairness for all,” said Shannon A. Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer of FedEx Express. “FedEx is honored to celebrate the legacy and values of Dr. King through our support of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.”

“We appreciate FedEx’s generosity as the sponsor of a free day at BCRI,” stated Andrea L. Taylor,  president and CEO. “FedEx, a global organization delivering change around the world, shares BCRI’s strong commitment to community, education and improving lives. Their support gives families in our region wider access to the Institute’s thought-provoking exhibits and programs,” she continued.”

The day’s activities include:

10 a.m.: Press Conference to announce events. Free admission to BCRI from 10-6 p.m.

10 a.m.: Live stream of events at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis

5-6 p.m.: Program at the Pavilion in Kelly Ingram Park

Jeff Drew, foot soldier from the Movement and friend of Dr. King, will speak, Community Libation Ceremony

6:01 p.m.: Moment of Silence to observe the time that Dr. King was assassinated on April 4.

At 6:01 pm on Thursday, April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated while standing on a balcony outside his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. King was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike and was on his way to dinner when a bullet struck him. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old.  News of King’s assassination prompted major outbreaks of racial violence, resulting in more than 40 deaths nationwide and extensive property damage in over 100 American cities.

Today, Dr. King is considered one of the most important figures of the 20th century for those seeking freedom, justice, equality and peace. His philosophy of nonviolence stands as one of the most successful answers to the world’s ongoing struggle against violence and injustice.