On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. walked out on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee and was fatally shot. Fifty years later, the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture and the Association to Preserve African American Society, History and Tradition, Inc. (PAST) will coordinate a series of events called MLK50 to highlight Dr. King’s life and legacy. MLK50, began at the Wells’Built Museum on the 2018 King Holiday weekend when students from the UCF Multi Cultural Student Center engaged in an exchange of ideas regarding the relevance of Dr. King’s life today. MLK50 continued for Black History Month during a reception and exhibit unveiling in the rotunda of City Hall to highlight notable African Americans in Central Florida who are living Dr. King’s dream as the first in their fields to achieve positions of prominence. The February “Firsts” event honored Ronald Blocker, Superintendent of Orange County Schools, Jerry Demings, Chief of Police and Sheriff, Monica Reed, Florida Hospital Vice President for Learning, Harriett Elam-Thomas, Ambassador in US. Foreign Service, Emerson R. Thompson, Jr., Judge and Chief Judge and Charlie Walker, Orlando Fire Department Chief.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, MLK50 will focus on Women of the Movement and pay tribute to Central Florida women who helped to break down racial barriers in the area. Women of the Movement will be celebrated on March 11 at 3:00 p.m. at Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church located at 4077 Prince Hall Boulevard in Orlando. The Wells’Built Museum will partner with the Orlando (FL) Chapter of the Links, Inc. on March 11 to pay tribute to L. Claudia Allen who brought scouting to African American youth in Orlando, Dorothy Butts who achieved equal pay for black and white teachers in Orange County Public Schools, Thelma Dudley who fought to integrate the Municipal Auditorium now the Bob Carr and Marie Gladden who enhanced educational and entrepreneurial opportunities for African Americans in Apopka.
MLK50 will present the music that propelled the Civil Rights Movement during Music of the Movement on April 14 at 6:00 p.m. at the Bob Carr Theater. Music of the Movement will feature the Jones High School Community and Alumni Band, the Smithsonian Institution and VaShawn Mitchell singing his nationally acclaimed recording “Nobody Greater”. A highlight of Music of the Movement will be a first-person account by Elmore Nickleberry, a 1968 Memphis, Tennessee sanitation worker who went on strike for 65 days with more than 1000 other solid waste collectors who faced deplorable working conditions in Memphis. PAST, Inc. will present Mr. and Mrs. Nickleberry in Orlando to focus on his story, the I am a Man movement and his march with Dr. King.
A special highlight of the Wells’Built 2018 Juneteenth celebration will be the presentation of Faith Leaders: the Face of Struggle which will feature three rabbis who were arrested when they traveled to St. Augustine, Florida in 1964 when Dr. King was incarcerated there. Faith Leaders: The Face of Struggle will be held on June 18 at 6:00 p.m.in the Special Events Center on the West Campus of Valencia College. A full calendar of events is attached.
For further information, contact Geraldine F. Thompson at 407-245-7535.