MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md (WDVM)– In memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. County officials and hundreds of community members gathered at the Strathmore music center to honor the life, legacy, and impact of Dr. King.
“It’s really amazing to see how far we have transitioned in terms of our commitment of inclusion and inequity in this community. We knew, not too long ago, there was a time in which folks were still segregated right here in Montgomery County,” said Councilmember Craig Rice.
In the summer of 1960, known as the summer of change, Montgomery County’s Glen Echo amusement park was segregated. Students of Howard University and the Montgomery County’s NAACP came together to protest the segregation.
“The peaceful protest lasted the entire summer until finally, the following spring March 31st Glen Echo park opened to people of all races in its 52-year history,” said councilmember Tom Hucker.
Due to the bravery these young students displayed during the protest at Glen Echo Park, it is considered to be a monumental turning point in the Civil Rights movement. Monday’s event theme was “Children of the dream” highlighting the impact young people can have in the world.
“The thing that is often forgotten is how young Dr. King was and so many of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, some of whom are still fortunately with us today serving in public office. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was a leader of the civil rights movement was in his 20s when he wrote the letter from the Burningham jail he was in his early 30s when he led the march on Washington,” said councilmember Andrew Friedson.
The event was attended by numerous local officials where they enjoyed live musical performances, speeches, and dances. It is also where County Executive Marc Elrich officially announced that every 3rd Monday of January the county will celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.
“The most poignant MLK quote for me is when he talked about fighting darkness and despair with love and light and I think now more than ever in this time, particularly within our national and political climate we need to keep making sure that everyone feels safe and protected and we keep shining that light to make sure that everybody can fulfill their own dream,” said councilmember Evan Glass.
Montgomery County councilmembers recognize how far they have come and how far we still have to go.
“As we today turn to some of the challenges that we have in our community I think it’s the young people who are really leading us and moving us forward and I hope that we provide them the opportunities to help lead the way to help lead us out of darkness to the light. That’s what really was the key to the civil rights movement success and I think that’s going to be key to our progress moving forward,” said councilmember Friedson.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!