Jesse Jackson honors MLK in Detroit Sunday, Monday

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — Almost 48 years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, more work is needed to carry out the slain civil right activist’s vision, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday.

“We’ve learned to survive apart,” Jackson said. “We must now learn to live together as brothers and sisters, or die apart as fools.”

He made the remarks during “Beyond the Dream,” to celebrate King’s birthday on Jan. 15. The federal holiday honoring King is Monday. Organized by Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the event in the atrium of Cobo Center in downtown Detroit drew hundreds of people.

On Sunday, local and community leaders spoke about the need to carry on King’s fight for civil rights, social justice and equality.

“Today, we celebrate the birthday of a great man and a national hero,” said Jewell Ware, vice chairwoman of the Wayne County Commission. “Although his voice has been silent, his spirit continues. Let’s be reminded that many people think the work is done, but it isn’t.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said there is a need to honor the past, but also focus on the future.

“We should never forget that as we labor, our efforts are not futile, but help to shape the destiny of those who will follow us,” he said. “So as we serve, let us do so with the same honor and excellence as Dr. King, barreling through the roadblocks of adversity.”

Performances by a dance troupe from Cass Tech High School and musicians Tony Henry and Marvin Sapp also were featured.

The event drew those at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center. Others were on their way to a Red Wings game at Joe Louis Arena next door.


“The biggest message is we still have to work towards diversity even though it’s been years since the civil rights movement started,” said Lakieva Harper, 33, of Detroit. “Even though Dr. King is gone, his dream still lives on.”

Jackson and the other speakers also raised the issue of Flint’s tainted water and called the water crisis a civil rights violation.

“The fact is (it) was created by greed and cynicism,” said Jackson, who was in Flint earlier Sunday to raise awareness about the city’s plight in the wake of the discovery of contaminated water. “Someone should go jail. What’s happening in Flint is a crime against humanity.

“It’s not an emergency, it’s a disaster.”

Valencia Muqaribu, 35, of Detroit said she was inspired by Jackson’s speech.

“It was very motivational,” she said. “It got me thinking about how we’ve got to keep hope alive and how I’ve got to keep it in my family.”

The event is scheduled to continue Monday in Cobo Center’s atrium. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, the Rev. Wendell Anthony and members of Congress who represent Michigan were expected to attend.

(313) 222-2058

MLK events

MLK Day Commemorative Breakfast , 7 a.m. doors open, 8 a.m. breakfast served. This fundraiser, themed “Stand for What Matters,” features the Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III honorary chair, as keynote speaker, and a performance by the Detroit Delta Preparatory Academy for Social Justice Dance Team, the Institute of Music & Dance at Marygrove College, and singer Savannah Fisher. $30. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren, Detroit. Visit thewright.orgCQ.

MLK Day Celebration at the CHWMAAH , 9 a.m.-6 p.m. All activities are included in museum admission ($8, $5 ages 62-plus and those 3-12, and free for members and those younger than 3.) Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren, Detroit. Visit for schedule of events.

“All People’s Breakfast,” 8-10 a.m. Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting, author of a new book on leadership, will speak. Free. Urban League of Detroit & SEM, 208 Mack, Detroit. Visit detroiturbanleague.orgCQ.

“Remembering the Life and Legacy of MLK,” 10 a.m. Hosted by the Archdiocese of Detroit. Reception will immediately follow mass. Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 9844 Woodward, Detroit. Call (313) 865-6300 or Visit

MLK Bike Ride, 10 a.m. Pedal for civil rights on Tour de Troit’s 10-mile ride through various Detroit activism sites. Starts at McGregor Memorial Conference Center, 495 Ferry Mall, Detroit. Free. Registration is required. Call (313) 577-2400.

Keeper of the Dream MLK Day Talk/Scholarship Program, 11:30 a.m. Actor LeVar Burton will be the keynote speaker. Oakland University (Oakland Center Banquet Rooms). 2200 N. Squirrell, Rochester. Call (248) 370-2100.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, 9 a.m. The 2016 Americorps Urban Safety Program creates safer pathways to and from school by securing 25 vacant properties for student walks to Detroit’s Pulaski Elementary and Osborn High Schools. Groups are encouraged to attend and register. Osborn High School, 11600 E. Seven Mile, Detroit. Visit amusdetroit.orgCQ.

MLK — A Celebration of Freedom, 8:30 p.m. Sponsored by the city of Troy and Troy School District. The celebration kicks off with a welcome by Steve Spreitzer, president and CEO of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, followed by a Unity Walk with Troy School District students around the school. Free. Athens High School, 4333 John R., Troy. Call (248) 524-1147.

Race Relations & Diversity Task Force MLK Celebration, 9 a.m. Celebration breakfast begins with a viewing of the short video titled “The Danger of a Single Story,” followed by a panel discussion moderated by Nichole Pardo, a diversity and conflict resolution expert. $30 general, $15 students. The Community House, 380 S. Bates, Birmingham. Call (248) 644-5832 or visit tchserves.orgCQ.

MLK Day at Henry Ford Museum, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Listen to live music, make crafts and hear the story of Rosa Parks. You can even carry a protest sign. Free. 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn. Call (313) 982-6001 or visit TheHenryFord.orgCQ.

“Bring the Dream to Life,” 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy with crafts, poetry performances, open mic, cupcakes and singing of Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” (3:30 p.m. in Wrigley Hall), followed by the “We Shall Overcome” song and more. Free. Parking is $7. Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward. Call (313) 833-1805 or visit detroithistorical.orgCQ.

City of Southfield Annual Peace Walk Celebration, 9:30 a.m. Hosted by the city of Southfield and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force. Help carry the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO banner. The walk begins at Hope United Methodist Church, 26275 Northwestern Highway, and proceeds to the Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen, both in Southfield. Visit metrodaflcio.orgCQ.

Detroit Institute of Arts Honors MLK Day, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the museum will be open. Last day to see the “30 Americans” exhibit. Admission is free, thanks to support from the Ford Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 5200 Woodward, Detroit. Visit

Martin Luther King Detroit March & Rally, noon. Presented by the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO. Lunch will be served and a cultural event will follow the march. Free parking. Central United Methodist Church. 23 E. Adams, Detroit. Visit metrodaflcio.orgCQ.

MLK Day National Day of Service Empty Bowls Project, 4-7 p.m. The event gives participants the opportunity to paint a ceramic bowl as part of the worldwide grassroots effort to end hunger and food insecurity. (A painted bowl becomes the participant’s “ticket” to the Community Sharing Empty Bowl Project Main Event at Bakers of Milford on May 15.) $15 adults, $10 children and teens. Suzanne Haskew Arts Center (the SHAC) on Milford’s south side. Visit

Compiled by Jocelynn Brown