“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Frederick Douglass: American Leaders for all Time Subject of “African American History Month Presentation” at Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum

Feb 8th, 2013Press Release from Lehigh County Historical Society

CONTACT: Joseph Garrera, Executive Director
Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum
cell: 484-553-2592
(610) 435-1074, Ext. 19

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Frederick Douglass: American Leaders for all Time Subject of “African American History Month Presentation” at Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum February 16th,  12:00 NOON

Allentown, PA – The lives and legacies of American leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Frederick Douglass will be the subject of a slideshow lecture at 12:00 NOON on Saturday, February 16th at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum in Allentown.  The announcement was made today by Joseph Garrera, Executive Director of the Museum.

The program is being held in conjunction with African American History Month.  This celebration, which originated in 1925, pays tribute to generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. “There is no better or more appropriate time to explore the stories Douglass and King, true heroes of history,” said Garrera.  “Their leadership helped guide African Americans and our nation through two critical eras—the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement.”

The month of February was selected as African American history month in part because it was the month of Frederick Douglass’s birth.  He was born in 1818 in Maryland, into a world of slavery.  Douglass’s escape from slavery and historic journey from slave to internationally-acclaimed author, lecturer, presidential advisor, and defender of human rights was long, painful, and dangerous.  He became the greatest abolitionist of the nineteenth century, a tireless champion of civil rights for blacks, whites, and women.  Douglass was motivated by a burning determination to achieve—for all people—the promise of equal rights written in the Declaration of Independence, which states, “…all men are created equal.”

Born Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up in the cold grip of forced legal segregation.  Entering the ordained ministry, King was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s writings on peaceful protest against injustice.  His courageous leadership, marching despite fears and through violent opposition at the head of an army of committed volunteers, eventually broke the unjust power of forced segregation.  The battles claimed the lives of dozens of civil rights workers and innocent black citizens—and ultimately cost King his own life.  He remains the moral conscience of America, the face of civil rights, and the spiritual leader of an ongoing crusade for all people, men and women, to achieve equality in America.

According to Garrera, King’s words speak to America today, preaching nonviolence and tolerance.  On display accompanying the slideshow will be an extremely rare First Edition of King’s 1958 book Stride Toward Freedom, signed by King and authenticated by three national experts.

Admission to the event is FREE and is funded in part by a grant from the Charles H. Hoch Foundation.

The Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum is a teaching institution that attracts a diverse audience.  Its collections of historical Americana include over 30,000 three-dimensional objects, 3 million documents and more than 75,000 vintage photographs.  The Museum is located at 432 W. Walnut Street in Allentown.   Parking is available in the rear of the Museum, on the street, and in nearby lots.  For more information, contact Joseph Garrera, Executive Director, at 484-553-2592 (cell) any time of day or at 610-435-1074. Visit www.lehighvalleyheritagemuseum.org or visit us on Facebook.

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