Alamedans March to Honor Dr. King

Dennis Evanosky    Rally and march participants cross Santa Clara Avenue on their way to City Hall from Haight Elementary School on Monday.

Members of the Alameda NAACP Organizing Committee, the Coalition to Rename Haight and the Alameda Race Violence Task Force hosted a gathering and walk to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday. The assembly at Haight featured songs, readings from King’s works and poetry. Children in attendance introduced themselves and showed the audience the signs that they made for the occasion.

Those in attendance then marched down Santa Clara Avenue to City Hall to attend the program there. They chanted, “Two, four, six, eight, only love can conquer hate,” along the way. 

King’s enduring words, “Free at last” were chosen as the theme of the program at City Hall. King spoke the words, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I’m free at last” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963. Many regard King’s deliverance of these words as a landmark moment in the fight for civil rights.

Organizers chose the title of King’s last book Where Do We Go from Here? as the theme of the rally and march. King based the title of this book on a question he posed during a speech he delivered to the members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Ga., on Aug. 16, 1967. 

“I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself,” King told his audience less than a year before his assassination. “(Every) time I see (hate), I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love.” 

Less than eight months after he delivered these words, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martin Luther King, Jr. lay dead from an assassin’s bullet on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.