Photos: 35 years of Seattle MLK celebrations

Fai Mathews, left, has been at most every MLK Day Celebration for the last two decades, always carrying the same picture of Dr. King. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Fai Mathews, right, has been at most every MLK Day Celebration for the last two decades, always carrying the same picture of Dr. King. (Photo by Susan Fried)

On Monday, thousands of people will gather in the only U.S. county named after Martin Luther King Jr. to celebrate the life of this extraordinary man.

The annual MLK Celebration at Garfield High School is one of the longest continually-held events of it’s kind in the country. Every year for the last 35 years volunteers with the MLK Seattle Celebration Committee have put together rallies, marches, career fairs and countless workshops on social justice.

For Seattle’s social justice community, Seattle’s 2017 MLK Celebration (details below) is a great way to kick off the next four years of resistance against the Trump agenda. Looking back over decades of rallies honoring Dr. King’s legacy, it’s clear we have the strength to face new challenges this era will hold:

1991

(Photo by Susan Fried)
A house along the parade route shows signs reflecting the top concerns that year, including encouraging local businesses like Boeing to divest from Apartheid South Africa. (Photo by Susan Fried)
A house along the parade route shows signs reflecting the top concerns that year, including encouraging local businesses like Boeing to divest from Apartheid South Africa. (Photo by Susan Fried)

1999

Jobs not Jails, Economic Justice Now (Photo by Susan Fried)
Jobs not Jails, Economic Justice Now (Photo by Susan Fried)
Without struggle, there is no progress. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Without struggle, there is no progress. (Photo by Susan Fried)

2000

(Photo by Susan Fried)
(Photo by Susan Fried)
Founding members of the MLK Day committee Eddie Rye, Lacy Steele and former Seattle Central Community College President Charles Mitchell. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Founding members of the MLK Day committee Eddie Rye, Lacy Steele and former Seattle Central Community College President Charles Mitchell. (Photo by Susan Fried)

2002

Following the 9/11 attacks and War in Afghanistan, emphasis at the march was on fighting for economic justice at home. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Following the 9/11 attacks and War in Afghanistan, emphasis at the march was on fighting for economic justice at home. (Photo by Susan Fried)

2003

Big crowds turned out in opposition to the impending invasion of Iraq. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Big crowds turned out in opposition to the impending invasion of Iraq. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Then-mayor Greg Nickels to a place near the front of the march. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Then-mayor Greg Nickels took a place near the front of the march. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Unwarranted police killings were already an issue back in 2003, with marchers calling for a stronger citizens review board to oversee police. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Unwarranted police killings were already an issue back in 2003, with marchers calling for a stronger citizens review board to oversee police. (Photo by Susan Fried)

2006

The tragic mishandling of Hurricane Katrina the previous summer hung heavy over the celebrations. (Photo by Susan Fried)
The tragic mishandling of Hurricane Katrina the previous summer hung heavy over the celebrations. (Photo by Susan Fried)

2007

Fatigue with the Bush Administration had reached an all time high by 2007. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Fatigue with the Bush Administration had reached an all time high by 2007. (Photo by Susan Fried)

2008

Central District business leader DeCharlene Williams, right, displayed her enthusiasm for the candidacy of Barack Obama . (Photo by Susan Fried)
Central District business leader DeCharlene Williams, right, displayed her enthusiasm for the candidacy of Barack Obama . (Photo by Susan Fried)

2009

"Yes We Can" and "Change Begins Now" were rallying cries of hope in 2009. (Photo by Susan Fried)
“Yes We Can” and “Change Begins Now” were rallying cries of hope in 2009. (Photo by Susan Fried)

2013

(Photo by Susan Fried)
(Photo by Susan Fried)
King County Councilmember Larry Gossett and Civil Rights Activist Tony Orange at the head of the march in 2013. (Photo by Susan Fried)
King County Councilmember Larry Gossett and Civil Rights Activist Tony Orange at the head of the march in 2013. (Photo by Susan Fried)

2015

"Hands Up, Don't Shoot" was a rallying cry following a year of police violence and unrest in places like Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo by Susan Fried)
“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” was a rallying cry following a year of police violence and unrest in places like Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo by Susan Fried)
(Photo by Susan Fried)
(Photo by Susan Fried)
(Photo by Susan Fried)
(Photo by Susan Fried)

2016

"Black Lives Matter" and "No New Youth Jail" were at the forefront last year. (Photo by Susan Fried)
“Black Lives Matter” and “No New Youth Jail” were at the forefront last year. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Former Black Panther Elmer Dixon leads a workshop. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Former Black Panther Elmer Dixon leads a workshop. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Fai Mathews was back again in 2016 with her pictures of MLK and Mandela, alongside a Black Lives Matter sign. (Photo by Susan Fried)
Fai Mathews was back again in 2016 with her pictures of MLK and Mandela, alongside a Black Lives Matter sign. (Photo by Susan Fried)

2017

This year’s theme “Stop the Hate: Come Together” has inspired more than 26 workshops dealing on topics from “Fighting for Labor & Civil Rights in the Trump Era,” “Single Payer: Our Only Path to Equitable, Affordable Healthcare” to “Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation.”

The rally at Garfield High School will feature performances by Patrinell Wright and the Total Experience Gospel Choir, Kutt’N’Up and Anthony Williams, as well as speeches by Executive Director of the American Muslim Empowerment Network, Aneelah Afzali, County Councilmember and original MLK Celebration Committee member Larry Gossett and Keynote Speaker Ron Sims, former King County Executive and Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

After the march, another rally at the Federal Building will feature speakers Erin Jones, former Washington State Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction, former State Representative Jesse Wineberry and spoken word by Nikkita Oliver.

Members of the public are invited to return to Garfield High School for a free lunch after the downtown rally. Buses will be available to take marchers back to the school.

For more information about this year’s event go to mlkseattle.org or the Martin Luther King, Jr. Seattle Celebration Facebook page.

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

2 Comments

  1. I was excited to see this. This March has been a great tradition in my family. I became an active is in the works of my mother Frances Simmons and my aunt Helen Summerrise .

  2. This is quite remarkable Susan. We locked eyes in the council chambers yesterday. This is my eldest sister. See you around. None other than Queen Pearl.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *