There will be many people making a trek to Memphis at the end of March for the MLK50 commemoration, including a group of high school students from Dundee, Mississippi.
A good long walk
Participants in the 50 Mile March to Memphis will be walking to raise awareness and build a new sense of community along the way. Much like the black sanitation workers in 1968, these young men will walk with a higher sense of purpose.
The PEARSON Foundation is organizing the walkers, an interracial group of boys aged 14 to 19. PEARSON, which stands for People Employing Available Resources to Strengthen Our Neighborhood, takes part in faith-based mentoring and community service rooted in a desire to teach participants about civil rights, justice and healthy race relations.
Building a community
Along the route, the group will be lodging at schools and churches, taking part in community meetings while in host cities to ensure they share and learn along the way.
The group will arrive in Memphis on April 4 to join a much larger march in commemoration of 50 years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which will end at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel—the site of Dr. King’s assassination.
Drawing inspiration from those who have come before
As with the black sanitation workers in 1968, the theme of “I am a Man” will be prominent among participants in the 50 Mile March to Memphis, and issues of adulthood and manhood will be topics of discussion. The group will receive a police escort along the entire route, and will not be walking in protest, but instead to honor Dr. King and express hope for the future.
The PEARSON Foundation is based in Pearl, Mississippi, and the group of boys participating will be composed of members of PEARSON’s educational programs as well as their peers from local schools. The group has its own Facebook page, and will be tracking its progress each day so families and friends can stay updated.
With historical events as a backdrop, the 50 Mile March to Memphis will look at what Dr. King stood for 50 years ago and examine how those ideals can be applied today.