State College to celebrate March on Washington anniversary

Local News

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Borough of State College will be holding a special annual event this weekend commemorating the anniversary of a historical moment for civil rights.

Community members are invited to join in-person or online to celebrate the 58th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom this Saturday, Aug. 28. The in-person portion of the event will be held at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza in Downtown State College while the online portion will be live streamed via C-NET, Centre County’s Government and Education Access Television Network.

The celebration will feature a symbolic in-person march from Sidney Friedman Parklet (241 S. Fraser Street) to the plaza, speakers, music and dramatic performances.

A short history of the original march on Washington will be presented along with a Tribute to John Lewis by Penn State professor emeritus of theatre Charles Dumas who was a participant in the 1963 March on Washington and Penn State associate professor of communications Jo Dumas.

“Clearly, the COVID-19 global pandemic means we can’t stage a huge public gathering,” said Martin Luther King Plaza Committee member Gary Abdullah. “We chose to meld a symbolic march into an online event to continue the tradition. As with the original march, we’re asking many distinct organizations – the NAACP, Community & Campus in Unity, Community Diversity Group, 3/20 Coalition, Penn State’s Forum on Black Affairs, student leaders and others – to blend our different perspectives to advance our common causes of racial justice and equity.”

The event will also mark the anniversary of the founding of State College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza. The former Fraser Street Plaza was renamed and redesigned to commemorate King’s Jan. 21, 1965 visit to Penn State’s Rec Hall, along with other notable moments from the civil rights leader’s life.

Over 200,000 people participated in the march on the nation’s capital on Aug. 28, 1963, advocating for the civil and economic rights of African Americans.

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