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A Greenbelt Perspective on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Assassination & a History of the Holiday

[Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., half-length portrait, facing front]. Dick DeMarsico, photographer, 1964. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

Following the assassination of Dr. King on April 4, 1968, Washington, DC, along with many other cities across the US erupted in riots. In DC the riots continued for four days. Greenbelt is only about 15 miles away from the city and although there were reported rumors at one point that the S. Klein Department store at Beltway Plaza was being attacked, this was untrue.

Greenbelt was not unaffected, however, and a front-page article in the Greenbelt News Review by reporter Virginia Beauchamp details how the Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department traveled to DC to offer assistance during the riots. Members of the Greenbelt National Guard were called up. Boy Scouts rounded up cots for men at the fire house and the Ladies Auxiliary cooked and provided meals. In addition, there were several impassioned op-eds written by Greenbelters that week, one by a private citizen, one by a member of Greenbelt's Fair Housing Committee and another by long-time advocate for civil rights and Greenbelt resident, Dr. Bertram Donn who, along with his wife, Marjorie Donn (still a Greenbelt resident) were also involved in the Fair Housing Committee. Click on the front page below to view a pdf of the issue.

The History of the Holiday

This Monday, January 16 marks Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and although it's been a holiday for many years now, that certainly wasn't always the case. Read the excellent article linked below produced by the National Museum of African American History and Culture to learn about the holiday's history. Also take a few minutes to watch the short film at the end of the article produced by the Corporation for National and Community Service about the holiday being a day of service.

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