MLK's historic steps retraced by thousands in Detroit

50th anniversary of iconic civil rights freedom walk

By Will Jones - Reporter


Saturday, as people retraced historic steps in Detroit, they're also looking to the future and all the work that still needs to be done to achieve an iconic civil rights leader's dreams.

Here in Detroit, 50-years-ago a powerful and meaningful walk toward freedom took place. The Freedom Walk commemorating the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. walk in 1963.

It was a day many who made the journey along Woodward Avenue remember well.

"It was truly a blessing and inspiration to black people," said Pastor Aleta Curry who participated in the 1963 March.

From the view from sky 4 this morning the inspiration still remains five decades later as so many people from all walks of life gather to reflect upon that historic day.

Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Dr. King's son, Martin Luther King III. led marchers on the walk to hart plaza.

"This walk is needed to respect the past, push toward the future and bring us together as one common man," said Kenyon Mcelway of Detroit

Two months before the King's historic march on Washington he delivered his legendary "I have a dream speech" right here in Detroit at the freedom march.

"I remember it because Berry Gordy. I'm a songwriter for Motown. Berry Gordy recorded that speech and made an album of that speech right here in the City of Detroit," said Thomas Kemp, who marched in 63.

Those who couldn't be a part of the memorable day in 1963 didn't want to miss a chance to celebrate the anniversary on Saturday.

"This was 50-years-ago, I was little then and I never even thought about coming down to a march when you are a little tiny. Now I can be here," said Jan Rice from Rochester Hills.

"It's just amazing to see everybody come together as one," said Denise Johnson of Detroit.

With each step walkers reflected on how far we've come as a nation, but also a reminder of how far we still have left to go.

"Some places I think we have made great strides. Other places two steps forward and one step backwards. That's a shame," said Marshall Rice of Rochester Hills.

The theme of this year's march was "we shall not default on our dreams," and by the looks of the crowd who joined the walk, those dreams are still big.

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