Martin Luther King and the Great March to Freedom in Detroit

January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr, Walk to Freedom Detroit Michigan, 1963

I have a dream this afternoon that my four little children, that my four little children will not come up in the same young days that I came up within, but they will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

I have a dream this afternoon that one day right here in Detroit, Negroes will be able to buy a house or rent a house anywhere that their money will carry them and they will be able to get a job.

~Martin Luther King, June 23, 1963 Detroit, Michigan

The quotation above comes not from Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech, but rather from the massive March to Freedom that happened 2 months earlier in Detroit. You can read the full text at mlkonline.com or it that’s overloaded still, view the cached version. A few years ago on Absolute Michigan, we featured an article on the Walk to Freedom:

On June 23, 1963, an estimated 125,000 people marched down Detroit’s Woodward Avenue carrying placards and singing “We Shall Overcome.” National and state leaders who marched along with Reverend King included United Auto Workers president Walter Reuther, former Michigan governor John B. Swainson, and Detroit mayor Jerome Cavanagh.

The march ended at Cobo Hall where the Reverend King was cheered by thousands of marchers when he emphasized that segregation needed to end. A veteran of the struggle to end racial segregation, King believed that it was the duty of African Americans to take part in demonstrations like the Walk to Freedom, which he called, “one of the most wonderful things that has happened in America.”

There’s a few pictures of the march at the Detroit News including this shot of the crowd on Woodward Ave from above (sorry – no direct link scroll down and look for it).

3 Responses to “Martin Luther King and the Great March to Freedom in Detroit”


  1. [...] More MLK on Michigan in Pictures – be sure to check out the Great March to Freedom! [...]


  2. […] Note: You can click to read the full text of Dr. King’s speech in Detroit and see a photo from the walk on Michigan in Pictures. Interestingly enough, Gov. Swainson had a harder road than many to […]


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