Under gray skies Wednesday, politicians and civic leaders gathered in Annapolis to honor the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Today’s event is a reflection of Dr. King’s dream,” said County Executive Steve Schuh. “I believe Dr. King is looking approvingly at all of us from the special place God created for him in heaven.”
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley joined the speakers in commemorating the legacy of the slain civil rights leader.
“I hope that today, everyone takes a moment to reflect on the vision of Dr. King....speak up and keep your voices heard,” Buckley told the crowd. “I urge you to follow the lead of our kids. Keep marching. Keep walking out. Keep protesting until change happens.”
As expected, Schuh did not announce the renaming of the park where the ceremony was held to honor King.
Owen McEvoy, a spokesman for Schuh, said Tuesday the proposal made by activists to rename the park for King is under consideration.
“We're going through the process of community outreach and putting the issue before the recreation advisory committee before we make any decisions,” he said.
Other speakers Wednesday included Anne Arundel County council members Chris Trumbauer and Pete Smith — who led the crowd in singing “God Has Smiled on Me.” Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams also spoke on a personal note.
“As I stand here, I can feel (King’s) hand while it’s reaching out over my shoulder, pushing me to do what’s right,” Adams said.
As for the park’s name, the board of the Caucus of African American Leaders voted unanimously last month to ask the county executive and County Council to name the park for King.
Buckley has said he supports the idea but wants the community to come to a consensus on a name for the unnamed park commonly called Whitmore park.
The park is the site of the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial honoring the roughly 200 people who took part in 1963’s March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, where King made his “I Have a Dream” speech that shook the conscience of the nation. Those who attended the speech from Annapolis boarded buses to go to the march.
At the time the street was lined with homes, soon to be razed for construction of the garage geared to county employees a few years later.
The park is a paved area between the outer wall of the Whitmore Parking Garage and Calvert Street with a raised bed of shrubbery and trees and several benches for seating. It has often been used for community events, concerts, and overflow for West Street fairs like First Sundays.