ATLANTA- King Center CEO Bernice A. King today announced plans for the 2016 commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. The 9-Day observance includes a broad range of unique educational programs, activities and events, beginning Wednesday, January 6, and concluding on Monday, January 18, the 30th Anniversary of the King Holiday. (A detailed schedule is attached to this release.)
In 2016, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. King going into Chicago to bring attention to fair and open housing. On January 7, 1966, Dr. King and SCLC announced plans for the Chicago Freedom Movement, a campaign to expand their civil rights activities to northern cities. Civil Rights groups and activists invited King to lead demonstrations against de-facto segregation in education, housing, and employment. Specifically, Dr. King and SCLC were invited to join them in a major nonviolent campaign geared toward achieving fair housing practices. Because they were successful in utilizing nonviolent resistance against segregation in the south, it seemed vital to demonstrate how nonviolent methods could be applied to the economic oppression of African Americans in the north. On July 10, 1966, Dr. King placed a list of demands on the door of the Chicago City Hall requesting that steps be taken to open up housing in Metropolitan Chicago. Other demands addressed areas including, quality education, access to jobs and transportation, income and employment, wealth generation, crime and the criminal justice system, and tenant’s rights, and overall quality of life. The Chicago Freedom Movement was the most ambitious civil rights campaign in the north and is largely credited with inspiring the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The assassination of Dr. King on April 4, 1968 enabled President Lyndon Johnson to mobilize Congress around this national tragedy to pass the bill that had previouslystalled.
It is especially fitting, in light of 2016 being the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Freedom Movement, that the theme for this year’s national King Holiday be “Remember! Celebrate! Act! King’s Legacy of Freedom for ourWorld.”
Nonviolence was key for the Chicago Freedom Movement and in light of the violent state of our current environment, it is even more vital today. This December, we commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott. This historic moment marked a monumental shift in American culture.The
peaceful protests were the result of Kingian philosophy and methodology, referred to today as Nonviolence 365. Nonviolence 365, which is nonviolence as a lifestyle, served as the blue print for the civil rights movement. The world remembers how this pathway of social change served as a dynamic systematic approach for conflict reconciliation. Its implementation in all levels of society during the late 50’s and 60’s was crucial, as disenfranchised Americans took long strides towards Dr. King’s “Beloved Community.” “As my father shared, ‘the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community,’ ” said Dr. Bernice A. King. “We, at The King Center, continue to work toward the creation of that Beloved Community, using my father’s philosophy, Nonviolence365.”
As a part of its annual challenge to the world, The King Center invites the public to participate in a variety of activities reflective of the spirit of inclusion and brotherly love that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. promulgated. King Center CEO, Bernice A. King stated, “I am especially grateful for the continued commitment of the corporations, businesses, and individuals who are supporting our 2016 Salute to Greatness Dinner. The proceeds from the dinner help the Center to further its work in educating and training people from all walks of life to embrace Nonviolence365 as alifestyle.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change is a 501c3 established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (“The King Center”) is the official living memorial and programmatic nonprofit organization committed to educating the world on the life, legacy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspiring new generations to carry forward his unfinished work, strengthen causes and empower change-makers who are continuing his efforts today. The King Center’s premiere educational initiative, Nonviolence 365, is based on Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and engages participants from various sectors of society, including emerging and next generation leaders, in modules and exercises that enhance communication, leadership,interpersonal and conflict reconciliation skills.