Commemorative March

Thursday, January 17, 2019

3:30–4:30 p.m., MLK Garden by MLK Statue (Located between Boone Hall and Welch Hall) | Get directions.

Join members of the university and surrounding community as we reflect upon the historical significance of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March by thousands of non-violent demonstrators, and march across campus from the MLK Garden to the Student Center.

Marchers will gather on the east end of Welch Hall at 3:30 p.m. and then proceed to the MLK Garden. Individuals can join the march at any point along the route, similar to what occurred in the 1965 march.

There will be a brief commemorative program at the MLK Garden beginning at 3:45 p.m. followed by the March at 3:55 p.m. 


  • Welcome: Dr. James Smith - EMU President
  • Opening Student Remarks: Quentin Washington
  • Keynote: Kenneth Dobson
  • Close of Program: The EMU Gospel Choir
  • About Keynote: Kenneth Dobson

    Kenneth Dobson is the senior director of Government Relations at Meridian Health Systems. Earning his Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University, he has served in leadership positions at Wayne County Airport Authority, Eastern Michigan University, the Detroit International Bridge Company, United States House of Representatives and the Detroit City Council. Dobson holds membership in several organizations including EMU Alumni Association, Black Alumni Association, NAACP and has held board and trustee positions with numerous organizations including Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development. He is the recipient of the YMCA Minority Achiever Award, Upward Bound Mentorship Award, and the 2015 NAACP (Ypsilanti/Willow Run) Public Service Award. As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated initiated into the Epsilon Eta Chapter (EMU), we welcome him back to campus to share a few words of reflection and to kick off this year's celebration at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative March.

At 3:55 p.m., following the program, we will march to the Student Center for our MLK Celebration Opening Reception and Art Showcase. Individuals may join the march at any point along the route, similar to what occurred in the 1965 march. 

MLK Commemorative March Route

  • Start at the MLK Garden located between Welch Hall and Boone Hall
  • Walk north toward King Hall
  • Continue walking north past Marshall Bldg. and Porter Bldg.
  • Turn right just past Porter and walk east toward Pray-Harrold
  • Turn left on sidewalk just before entrance to Pray-Harrold and continue north toward Downing Hall
  • Cross East Circle Drive at stop sign going north
  • Cross East Circle Drive again going west and follow the walking path toward the picnic area
  • Stay on the walking path going northwest past the picnic area and behind the Lakehouse
  • Continue on walking path going west until you arrive at the north entrance to the Student Center
  • The March continues and marchers will be directed into the Student Center and collectively walk to 310A for the MLK Celebration Opening Reception and Student Art Showcase.

View the route.

Why is the Selma-to-Montgomery March an epic event in history?

The Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights represented the political and emotional peak of the modern civil rights movement. On Sunday, March 21, 1965, about 3,200 marchers led by Martin Luther King, set out from Selma for Montgomery, walking 12 miles a day and sleeping in fields. By the time they reached the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama five days later on March 25, 1965, they were over 25,000 strong. King told the assembled crowd: "There never was a moment in American history more honorable and more inspiring than the pilgrimage of clergymen and laymen of every race and faith pouring into Selma to face danger at the side of its embattled Negroes" (King, "Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March"). Less than five months later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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