2014 MLK Day marks 60th anniversary of end of segregation

Posted: January 10, 2014

IT'S BEEN MORE than 60 years since Oliver Brown stormed out of Sumner Elementary School in Topeka, Kan., and blazed the trail for racial integration in schools throughout the U.S.

That's one reason Mayor Nutter and Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service founder Todd Bernstein are excited about this year's event, Jan. 20 at Girard College.

Because this year marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision, equality is the special focus of a series of canvas murals designed by students from six area schools.

The murals, created under the auspices of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, will be on display Jan. 20 at Girard College.

"On the King holiday, we are always reminded of the impact that one individual can have on the world during times of great challenge," schools Superintendent William Hite Jr. said yesterday at the Day of Service kickoff event.

"For me, it identifies the significance of much of what happened - everything from the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters to all of the other firsts and acknowledgments that must go out to all of you."

Hite addressed more than 200 people yesterday at Girard College. More than 125,000 volunteers are expected to participate - a record number - at the oldest and largest MLK Day event in the U.S., according to the organizers.

"Each year this continues to grow, and I believe that we must all come together to solve our city's many challenges, because we certainly know that the government cannot do it all alone," Nutter said.

"We're still fighting for educational equality here in the city of Philadelphia, and we're not going to settle for adequate school funding. We should have superior school funding for every school in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. So, this is still a civil-rights struggle for all of us."

The hundreds of volunteers will assemble, sort and pack donated school supplies, computers, and classroom and library books to be distributed among Philadelphia's most underserved schools.


On Twitter: @RuffTuffDH

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