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Five Ways MLK is Tied to Michigan and More

As the West Bloomfield and Walled Lake Schools communities recognize Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, here's a look at the civil rights leader's Michigan connections.

West Bloomfield High School graduate David Merritt will deliver the keynote address at the annual United We Walk march, scheduled on Sunday.

Merritt, a 2004 graduate who helps lead the mega-church Straight Gate Congregation Church of Detroit and is involved as an entrepeneur in philanthropic efforts, will speak on this year's theme of "Unity in the Community."

Meanwhile, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools hosts Rochelle Riley, columnist for the Detroit Free Press, who will speak about this year’s theme in a speech entitled “Every Voice Counts!”

The event takes place between 5-8:30 p.m. Monday at Walled Lake Northern High School.

Five ways King is tied to Michigan:

1. Original Dream Speech - King first delivered the "I have a Dream" speech to a crowd of 150,000 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, two months before the famous rendition during the March on Washington in 1963.

2. Historical Recording - The original version of the "Dream" speech was recorded by Gordy Records, a subsidiary of Motown Records in Detroit.

3. Rosa Parks Bus - When she refused to give up her seat to a white person on a public bus in 1955, Rosa Parks, a tired black seamstress, sparked the civil rights movement that King led. That bus remains one of the most visited exhibits in Dearborn's Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.

4. Visit to Grosse Pointe - In 1968, King gave a speech to a crowd of 2,700 at what is now Grosse Pointe South High School, according to the Grosse Pointe Historical Society. He was assasinated three weeks later.

5. MLK Symposium - Monday will mark the 27th annual MLK symposium at the University of Michigan. Each year the university focuses on a topic related to King in an effort to "remember the work and legacy of Dr. King." This year's theme is 50 Years Later (R) Evolution of the Dream.

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