DOVER — Fifty years ago, civil rights leaders, labor and religious organizations led a crowd of about 250,000 people to Washington.
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom culminated on the National Mall with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963.
To commemorate the march — a defining moment in the civil rights movement — community leaders have planned an event next week at Delaware State University.
At the hour-long program, which begins Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center, attendees can hear Dr. King’s address just as he said it 50 years ago.
The Rev. Dr. John Moore, vice president of the United Way of Delaware and the youth pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Dover, is well-known throughout the state for his uncanny portrayal of Dr. King; he doesn’t miss a stammer.
He plans to perform the complete “I Have A Dream” speech from memory.
Although many recognize Dr. King’s iconic refrain, “I have a dream,” the Rev. Moore said they may not be familiar with the entire speech.
He said the words transcend time, and that Dr. King’s words, “We cannot walk alone,” are still important today.
“He was saying it’s a time in America we must all come together in unity and walk together so we can get solutions,” the Rev. Moore said. “It’s absolutely still relevant today.”
The Rev. Moore said he’ll perform the speech in short segments, and in between, community and student leaders will address the audience, including Michelle Taylor, president of United Way of Delaware, and DSU President Dr. Harry Williams.
L. Amillion Mayfield — known as Amillion the Poet — will present spoken word poetry. The Delaware State University Gospel Choir will perform, as well as a mime ministry group, Perfect Praise. There will also be a video presentation from local students.
Although thousands are expected to rally in Washington for next week’s anniversary, the Rev. Moore said t it’s important to commemorate the march close to home as well.
“There’s going to be so much focus on D.C.,” the Rev. Moore said. “Many people won’t be doing something locally but we’ll make sure the capital city of Dover will be planning something.”
And Dover, he added, is an appropriate place to celebrate — especially after city officials recently dedicated Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the city.
For many students, they event, held just as they’re moving into campus, will kick off the year for them.
“We want to see a great number of people from the community as well,” the Rev. Moore said.
The free event is open to the public.