Borough of State College News Release

For Immediate Release


State College Celebrates 56th Anniversary of March on Washington

State College, Pa – Town-and-gown participants will come together on Wednesday, August 28 at 5:30 p.m. as the Borough of State College acknowledges the 56th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with a special program in its Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza, at 127 Fraser Street downtown.

The original March on Washington was held in the nation’s capital to bring attention to the civil and economic rights of African Americans. The march, one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history, was instrumental in helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the march, Dr. King delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech to an estimated 250,000 people in front of the Lincoln Memorial, presenting an inspiring vision of a nation rejecting and overcoming racism.

Activities for the hour-long event include:

  • Black National Anthem by "Bubble Gum Soul," a State College-based family trio
  • "Welcome/Introduction" by Gary Abdullah of the borough’s King Plaza Planning Subcommittee  
  • Music from Gabe Green, poet and graduate student in African American and Diaspora Studies, including songs from his new EP
  • "The March on Washington, Explained" by Dr. AnneMarie Mingo, Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State
  • Poetry from Dr. Amy Freeman, director of the Penn State Millennium Scholars Program
  • "Remembrances of the Day" from Charles Dumas, Professor Emeritus of Theatre in the College of Arts and Architecture
  • "Marching: Forward" by Oyin Adetola of Penn State’s Black Caucus, offering reflections on the current scene and the role of activism.
  • Nyla C. Holland, executive director of Penn State’s 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Committee, will talk about hopes and plans for the coming year’s campus birthday activities

The event also will celebrate the second anniversary of the borough’s establishment of its Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Plaza downtown. The plaza commemorates King’s visit to Penn State’s University Park campus on Jan. 21, 1965, where he spoke to an estimated crowd of 8,000 people in Rec Hall. Mingo says the plaza’s affirmation of King’s legacy and ethos puts it in rare company nationally.

“Out of the many memorials to King around the nation and world, there are not many outside of key civil rights cities in the South -- Birmingham, Atlanta, Memphis and others -- that extend beyond a street name, a mural/image, or maybe a quote,” Mingo said. 

“The Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza in State College is intentionally designed as a gathering place where young and old can learn about local and national civil rights events and hopefully be inspired by King and look at what role they too can take in helping make the world a more just place. It was the borough's vision to create a space that can teach and inspire those involved in struggles today.”


If you would like more information about this event, please contact Gary Abdullah at (814)-237-1023 or email at GXA2@PSU.EDU

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