Days after celebrating the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., USAID (United States Agency for International Development) held a ceremony celebrating the life of the “Prince of Peace”. Guests of honor for this special occasion were Dr. Frank Smith (Founder of the African American Civil War Museum, WDC) and Eric Kulberg, who was an 18 year old intern at The Department of Interior that captured some incredible pictures from The March on Washington in 1963.
Our MOST Club members from School Without Walls were given a special invitation to be a part of this day of reflection, from two men who share fond memories of that day and of Dr. King.
Dr. Smith talked about how he got started in the Civil Rights movement while attending Morehouse College, where he, along with other students established the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the wake of the department store boycott’s in Atlanta. Through SNCC, Dr. Smith met many influential and affluent activist, scholars, pastors, community leaders etc. and one of those people was Dr. King who was a champion for nonviolence.
Dr. Smith ended with a story of Dr. King’s last words to him, less than 24 hours before that fatal evening in Memphis, TN on April 4th. He recalls seeing Dr. King in a Memphis airport and was asked by Dr. King to help organize the young people in Memphis who’s actions were opposite of King’s message. Dr. Smith declined and stated he had hung up his marching shoes. Dr. King looked at him and told him to never hang up his marching shoes. There is always a reason to march.
Eric Kulberg (photographer/ documentary producer) who was 18 on August 28, 1963 and the youngest photographer there had no idea how that day would turn out for him or the hundreds of thousands of people who gathered at The Lincoln Memorial and The Tidal Basin to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Mr. Kulberg didn’t know much about the march but felt he had to be there and document it. This historical day changed Mr. Kulberg’s life. After leaving the march he immediately tried to figure out how he could participate in the movement and bring awareness to the social injustice and discrimination that was taking place in this country. He did so through his jazz radio show and through his documentaries on African Americans over the years.
Our young men left the ceremony feeling inspired and empowered!