Big Sky Roundup

Montana Public Radio hosts special tribute to MLK on Jan 18

By: - January 13, 2021 5:48 pm

Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers a speech to a crowd of approximately 7,000 people on May 17, 1967 at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Montana Public Radio, in conjunction with Whitefish-based “Love Lives Here,” will broadcast a 90-minute radio special featuring a special lineup of speakers at 8 p.m., Jan. 18, commemorating the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The 1963 March on Washington is best remembered for Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

A quarter million marchers rallied in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963. Thousands traveled by road, rail and air to Washington, D.C. More than 2,000 buses, 21 chartered trains, 10-chartered airliners and uncounted cars converged on the Capitol.  All regularly scheduled planes, trains and buses were filled to capacity, and yet there were no incidents of civil unrest or violence.

The March on Washington was organized by A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and vice-president of the AFL-CIO, with Bayard Rustin, leader of social movements for civil rights, nonviolence and gay rights. They focused on the core goals of the civil rights movement: jobs and freedom.

The crowd rallied for 10 hours listening to 10 speakers including John Lewis, a future Congressman, a series of clergy, and Dr. King and to performances by opera singer Marian Anderson, Mahalia Jackson, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Odetta.

This year’s Martin Luther King Celebration will feature selections from the other fiery speeches that day that are rarely mentioned. The Rev. Dr. King, John Lewis, A. Philip Randolph, and others spoke of the ways that America had delivered a “bounced check” to its African American citizens.

Several distinguished civil rights activists and leaders will reflect on these speeches and give a progress report on how America is delivering on those promises from 1963. The featured speakers are:

  • Rev. David Rommereim, civil rights leader
  • Judith Heilman, Executive Director of the Montana Racial Equity Project
  • Samantha Francine, civil rights activist
  • Franke Wilmer, Professor of Political Science at Montana State University
  • Eldena Bear Don’t Walk, Chair of Montana Human Rights Network
  • Jamar Galbreath
  • Murray Pierce, Director of Multi-Cultural Affairs at the University of Montana
  • Professor David Krugler, Professor of History and African-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin

This radio special was produced by Allen Secher and Bruce Guthrie and will be broadcast on your local MTPR station or streaming the program on

Here are the locations throughout Montana where the broadcast can be heard:

  • 89.1 FM Missoula
  • 89.5 FM Polson
  • 89.9 FM Great Falls
  • 90.1 FM Kalispell
  • 90.5 FM Libby
  • 91.3 FM Butte
  • 91.5 FM N. Missoula
  • 91.7 FM Helena
  • 91.7 FM Dillon
  • 91.7 FM Whitefish
  • 91.9 FM Hamilton
  • 98.3 FM Swan Lake
  • 107.1 FM Marysville

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