MLK50: A Multi-Generational Movement

 Lashundra Richmond stands behind her son Phillip and her goddaughter Madison as they hold up “I AM A MAN” signs during the reenactment of the famous Withers photograph.  CREDIT PHOTO BY SYDNEY MATZKO

Lashundra Richmond stands behind her son Phillip and her goddaughter Madison as they hold up “I AM A MAN” signs during the reenactment of the famous Withers photograph.

CREDIT PHOTO BY SYDNEY MATZKO

By CHRISTY CALCAGNO & KYLEE ROBERTS & ERIN CONWAY

 As children from Promise Academy raise their voices to the anthem "We Shall Overcome," hundreds of young activists flood the streets, lending their energy and vitality to a call for action. 

Fifty years ago, adults might have been wary of bringing children to a civil rights march. But at Wednesday's MLK50 commemoration, from the marches to the speeches, children and young people could be seen in every crowd.

Phillip Richmond Jr. and Madison Redmond, ages 10 and 11, attended various events with their parents. 

Despite their ages, both marchers understood the significance of equality.

"Everyone is depending on us to change the world like Dr. Martin Luther King did," said Madison.

"That means I am somebody, not a nobody," added Phillip.

For many participants, MLK50 was a family affair. Lashundra Richmond says she brought Phillip and Madison to encourage them. 

Principal Patrick Washington of Promise Academy joins his students outside on Beale Street to sing the chorus of “We Shall Overcome” during an MLK 50 event. 

 Principal Patrick Washington of Promise Academy joins his students outside on Beale Street to sing the chorus of “We Shall Overcome” during an MLK 50 event.   CREDIT PHOTO BY SYDNEY MATZKO

Principal Patrick Washington of Promise Academy joins his students outside on Beale Street to sing the chorus of “We Shall Overcome” during an MLK 50 event. 

CREDIT PHOTO BY SYDNEY MATZKO

  "The end of the day, what’s most significant is that they understand their voice matters and they have to fight for their rights," she said. "They have to be an advocate for what they believe in."

On Beale Street, where the Promise Academy students entertained with their singing, principal  Patrick Washington said that he wanted his students to know they hold a special place in history. 

"The Civil Rights Movement -- kids had a big part in that, and we believe there are still inequities, and there are opportunities for our kids to make sure that they leave the world better than they came into it," Washington said.

This article was first published at www.wknofm.org