The streetscape featured participants dressed in 1930s period attire, including paperboys delivering event-themed newspapers, a long-time community resident telling stories from the porch of one of the historic homes on the block, dancers demonstrating the moves of the era, and a uniformed fireman explaining the significance of historic Fire Station No. 6. Vintage automobiles lined the streets and 1930s music filled the air. A children's pavilion gave older members of the community an opportunity to teach children the games they played growing up, such as marbles, jacks, and Double Dutch.
Featured speakers included two of Dr. King's children - Martin Luther King, III, president and CEO of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and Elder Bernice King, president elect of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Also attending were Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Kwanza Hall, an Atlanta city councilman, and Gordon Wissinger, deputy regional director for Southeast Region.
The program also featured a performance of Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech by actor Stephon Ferguson, as well as a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Eastern National bookstore. One of the key highlights of the event was a book signing with Dr. King's older sister, Dr. Christine Farris, and her daughter, Angela Farris-Watkins, on the porch of the home in which Dr. King and his siblings were born.
"The park and its surroundings enable people to feel the presence of Dr. King, his family, and his neighbors in a special way," said Superintendent Judy Forte. "For those who joined the celebration, the experience of reliving history for a few hours was educational and inspirational. Diverse and multi-generational groups of people were able to learn about the history of Dr. King's neighborhood - how it started and grew - and were able to see and feel the environment in which he lived. This event was a reflection of Dr. King's ideal of a ‘beloved community'. We plan to continue to host events like this that help individuals in the community engage in the history of the site and better understand the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."