The Walk To Freedom
Known as “The Freedom Walk” and “The Walk to Freedom,” the historic trek up Woodward Avenue in Detroit on Sunday, June 23, 1963, brought hundreds of thousands together for a Detroit stop on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s national tour for civil rights.

The 90-minute walk not only became one of the tour’s largest showings, with a crowd estimated from 125,000 to 250,000, but King’s address at the end of the march became the debut of his historic “I Have a Dream” speech delivered just two months later in Washington, DC.

In the demonstration organized by the Detroit Council for Human Rights, the council's director, Benjamin McFall, and its chairman, Rev. Clarence L. Franklin, both marched with King along with Governor John Swainson. Others who marched included Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, United Auto Workers President Walter P. Reuther and State Auditor General Billie S. Farnum.

The walk culminated with a speech at Cobo Hall, where King spoke about nonviolence and an end to racial segregation. The speech ended, according to a June 1963 article in the Detroit Free Press, with King alluding to a dream of whites and blacks "walking together hand in hand, free at last."

I have a dream this afternoon that one day right here in Detroit, Negroes will be able to buy a house or rent a house anywhere that their money will carry them and they will be able to get a job.

Yes, I have a dream this afternoon that one day in this land the words of Amos will become real and "justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."
<br>  I have a dream this evening that one day we will recognize the words of Jefferson that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I have a dream this afternoon.

 I have a dream that one day "every valley shall be exalted, and every hill shall be made low; the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places plain; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."

 I have a dream this afternoon that the brotherhood of man will become a reality in this day.

And with this faith I will go out and carve a tunnel of hope through the mountain of despair. With this faith, I will go out with you and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. With this faith, we will be able to achieve this new day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing with the Negroes in the spiritual of old:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God almighty, we are free at last!
SOURCES: Michigan Library and Historical Center, Stanford University, Detroit Free Press

May 11-June 21, 2013:
  • Citywide video contest asks high school and college students, “What community-building are you doing in Detroit to realize the dream?”
June 21, 2013:
  • MLK Think Tank for Social Action
June 22, 2013:
  • 9 a.m.: “Take a Step” toward building the next 50 years of accomplishments. The walk will begin on Woodward Avenue near Forest and lead to Hart Plaza, where it will end with a rally.

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