57 years ago: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers precursor to ‘I Have A Dream’ speech in Detroit

More than 100,000 people walked with Dr. King for Walk to Freedom

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held the Walk to Freedom 57 years ago in Detroit and gave what would become the precursor to his “I Have A Dream” speech.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held the Walk to Freedom 57 years ago in Detroit and gave what would become the precursor to his “I Have A Dream” speech.

DETROIT – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held the Walk to Freedom 57 years ago in Detroit and gave what would become the precursor to his “I Have A Dream” speech.

With the demonstrations and calls for change still happening to this day in the United States, Local 4 looked back at how Dr. King’s words still resonate.

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On June 23, 1963, a crowd of more than 100,000 people walked with Dr. King down Woodward Avenue. The Walk to Freedom ended at Cobo Arena, where Dr. King delivered a powerful speech -- a precursor to his famous “I Have A Dream” speech two months later in Washington.

That day in Detroit was electric.

“There were people everywhere,” Georgella Muirhead said.

Muirhead was a young girl at the time, so she didn’t tune into the speech the way grownups did, but she said she knew she was witnessing something special.

“It was loud,” Muirhead said. “(I knew) something historic was happening.”

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Now 57 years have passed since that day, and sadly, the flames of racism still burn in this country. Many people speak with a sense of optimism, but also impatience. They say this is the time to stand behind each other for equality and unity.

Part of Dr. King’s message was a dream of unity. Muirhead said she believes if he was here right now, Dr. King would be hopeful.

“He struck me as an optimistic person,” she said.


About the Authors:

You can watch Steve weekends as anchor of Local 4 News at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and reporting throughout the week. Steve is a veteran journalist who has worked at Local 4 since 1995.

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.