April 6, 2018


]The 50th anniversary of the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was commemorated this past week with the help of the Bethlehem NAACP, YWCA Bethlehem, Lehigh University, Bethlehem Area Public Library, and all who came out to remember the irreplaceable work of this great man.

On the morning of April 4, many gathered at Packer Memorial Chapel to discuss and share the works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Attendees and speakers included BAPL’s Josh Berk, Rayah Levy, and Matt Wolf, as well as several Lehigh professors, faculty, and students.

All of these community members and more came together at this memorial to share the wisdom of Dr. King’s written works, as well as other works by African American authors—all of which spoke to Dr. King’s belief in activism to achieve equality. Bethlehem Area Public Library’s Rayah Levy was one of those speakers. She, in her reading of an excerpt of Dr. King’s speech “The Other America,” said, “And I do not see how we will ever solve the turbulent problem of race confronting our nation until there is an honest confrontation with it and a willing search for the truth and a willingness to admit the truth when we discover it…Every city in our country has this kind of dualism, this schizophrenia, split at so many parts, and so every city ends up being two cities rather than one. There are two Americas.” The rest of the recitation of this speech can be viewed in the video below.[/vc_column_text]

After the dedicatory at Packer Memorial Chapel concluded, the community was invited to partake in a peaceful march to commemorate Dr. King and his incomparable dedication to the millions of African Americans and minorities in the United States. The march started outside the Bethlehem Area Public Library in Payrow Plaza and included about 60 marchers. The march was led by a police escort and traveled to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Park in South Bethlehem on Carlton Avenue. There, the crowd gathered for a remembrance at the park, which was dedicated to King in 1971. More speakers, such as President Esther Lee of the Bethlehem NAACP, spoke at the gathering: “We’re here because fifty years ago a great man—Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King—a clergyman, was assassinated, murdered, in Memphis, Tennessee.”

At 6:01 p.m. CST, the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel helped organize a ringing of bells to remember the time King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Then, at 6:03 p.m. CST, bells were tolled all across Memphis, followed by bells that tolled at 6:05 p.m. CST all across the United States. This memorial event in Bethlehem, PA was one of many in the country. It was surely one to be remembered alongside all of the amazing work that Martin Luther King Jr. did during his short, but very impactful, life.