Keeping the dream alive
Local groups help complete Martin Luther King’s vision
By André Coleman 01/15/2014
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Pasadena at least three times during the Civil Rights Movement.
In 1958, King accepted an invitation to speak at Caltech by the Leaders of America program, which brought distinguished speakers to the campus.
In 1960, King preached a sermon at Friendship Baptist Church on Dayton Street and South DeLacey Avenue after meeting then-head Pastor Marvin T. Robinson.
King returned to Friendship Baptist in 1965, one year after winning a Nobel Peace Prize and two years after delivering his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech during the march on Washington.
In honor of King’s 84th birthday Monday — Martin Luther King Day — local groups will revisit King’s message this week with several events.
First, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Coalition will present “A Day On – Not Off” from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Franklin Elementary School, 527 W. Ventura St., Altadena. The event will include a reading of King’s famed “I Have a Dream” speech. Volunteers will also plant flowers at the school. Senior Pastor Billie Keller of New Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church will be the keynote speaker.
“They are going to repeat the speech from memory,” MLK Community Coalition Project Coordinator Al Bailey told the Pasadena Weekly. “We are going to sing some old Negro spirituals also. A lot of these kids have forgotten King’s message and some of them don’t even know it. This is why we are going to reemphasize it.”
From 8:30 to 12:30 on Monday, the coalition will team with the Tournament of Roses Association, the Pasadena Unified School District, the city of Pasadena and Phi Delta Kappa to present “Dreams Become a Reality” at Robinson Park, 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena.
The event will include a Freedom March breakfast from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. followed by a celebration. The event will also include speakers, food and the winners of the local essay and poster contest.
“We have been doing this for 20 years,” said Jacqueline Jacobs, former president of the Pasadena Board of Education and president of the Martin Luther King Community Coalition. “It is important we keep reminding ourselves and helping our young people remember this legacy. What he was concerned about is so important today. His dream was that we could all live together in peace and harmony. Until that happens, we will continue to push the goals of the dream.”