Fifty-eight years ago this Saturday a young Atlanta minister stepped up to a podium to address a crowd that filled the length of the two-mile National Mall in Washington, D.C.
They had gathered from around the country for the March on Washington, a protest against civil rights abuses and employment discrimination. They wanted to hear words of inspiration. They got much more. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech became the signature anthem for the Civil Rights Movement.
On Saturday, Atlantans will mark the anniversary with a voting rights rally and concert at Centennial Park.
The event is part of a national movement to persuade Congress to stop what some see as voter suppression laws and pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Restoration Act, two pieces of pending legislation that supporters say will increase free and fair access to the ballot.
The Atlanta march will start at 11 a.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church and end at Centennial Park. A rally and concert featuring multi-platinum Grammy award-winning artist, actor and native Atlantan Chris “Ludacris” Bridges will follow.
“Exercising our right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and when people make it harder to vote, we stand up,” Bridges said in a statement. “I look forward to honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King as I march with people in Atlanta on Saturday.”
In addition to Atlanta, marches will occur in Houston, Miami, Phoenix, Washington, D.C. and more than 40 other cities around the country.
Learn more about March On for Voting Rights here. And click here if you’d like to participate in the march itself. If you do, please tag Atlanta Civic Circle in your social media posts, and let democracy reporter Tammy Joyner know about your experience.