KENT MEMORIAL LIBRARY WILL HONOR THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR JOBS AND FREEDOM

CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS, MARCH ORGANIZER, TO SPEAK

Press Release June 1, 2013

(Kent, Connecticut) – The Kent Memorial Library takes great pleasure in announcing events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Nearly 50 years ago, the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history. Two hundred fifty thousand peaceful demonstrators called for civil and economic rights for African Americans.  The climax of the march occurred at the Lincoln Memorial when Dr. Martin Luther King gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.  The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and The King Center will commemorate the 50th anniversary with marches and motorcades from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., from Aug. 24-28, 2013.

The Kent Memorial Library in Kent, CT will honor the March and our country’s continuing struggle for civil rights with a program featuring Congressman John Lewis, one of the six organizers of the March, on Sunday, August 4 at 2:00 p.m. at the Kent Community House at 93 North Main Street, Kent.

Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America.   His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress. He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama.  He grew up on his family’s farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama.  As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts.  In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Ever since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.

The central message of the March was “equality.”  Of course the persuasive arguments were embodied in Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  The metaphors and messages in the speech translate well into visual imagery, movement, music and discourse about all forms of civil rights.  The Library has joined with the After School Arts Program, Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts and Housatonic Regional High School to create a series of events to commemorate the occasion.  The After School Arts Program will translate the message in Dr. King’s speech into special art programs at its summer camp.  Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts will dedicate the choreography in its July 27 performance at Marvelwood School to the meaning of freedom.  The Housatonic Regional High School will translate it into an essay contest for its students.

Kenneth Cooper, president of the Kent Library Association, said, “The March was a seminal event in the history of the civil rights movement in America. Fifty years later the messages of its leaders are still relevant and have evolved from race to gender, sexual orientation, and cultural diversity. We hope to remember an important event in the history of the country and expose a new generation to its importance.”

Initial registration for Congressman Lewis’s program will be limited to members of the Kent Library Association and will begin in June. The Library is currently in the midst of its 2013 membership drive and encourages all persons with interests in Litchfield County to join. The registration fees are $15 for Kent Residents and $25 for non-Kent Residents. There are NO refunds. Please visit the Library’s website, kentmemoriallibary.org for further information.