Wednesday, August, 28th was the 56th anniversary of the 1963 “March on Washington”, which advocated for jobs and freedom, and was where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gave his “I have a dream” speech.
People at the MLK Plaza in State College say Wednesday night was about more than just an anniversary.
“Dr. King actually came here to State College, that’s one of the things that not every town gets a chance to say, he spoke at Rec Hall to a crowd that was so large that people were spilling over,” AnneMarie Mingo, Assistant professor of African American Studies at Penn State, said.
Dr. King’s speech to 8,000 at Penn State in January 1968 is captured in pictures in a mural at the MLK Plaza in downtown State College.
The site where, on Wednesday night, locals honored Dr. King and the message he gave in 1963 during the “March on Washington” in his “I have a dream” speech.
“So much of what he talked about are still prominent issues today, when you talk about labor, when you talk about class, when you talk about white liberalism,” Nyla Holland, Executive Director for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Committee at Penn State, said.
Holland says the death of Osaze Osagie, the black autistic man shot and killed by State College police during a mental health call in March, was devastating. This is all apart of the conversation Reverend King was having in the 1960s Holland said.
“It was interesting to sit in on meetings where our perspectives were completely different, where the police department kind of thought that there weren’t really any issues when black students here have a completely different story,” Holland, said.
The Martin LuthermKing Jr. Commemoration Committee at Penn State is going to Washington D.C. this weekend to plan other upcoming social justice events both on campus and in the borough.