We’ll be leading Walks in several new neighborhoods this year. Perhaps the most unusual will be the Walk of the Marquette Park neighborhood, which will take place on Saturday, 7 May from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
The Walk will be led by Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network and Julia Bachrach, Chicago Park District Historian.
This tour will explore the fascinating multi-cultural history of Marquette Park and its surrounding neighborhood. The area was sparsely populated in the early 20th century, when renowned landscape architects The Olmsted Brothers created the original plan for Marquette Park.
Over the next few decades, many Lithuanian immigrants settled in the area. When Lithuanian American aviators Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas crashed during an attempt to fly from New York to Lithuania in 1933, members of the Marquette Park community quickly began a campaign to memorialize them. The resulting monument, installed at the southeast side of the park in 1935, is one of Chicago’s most exquisite Art Deco artworks.
In 1966, the neighborhood played a significant role in the national Civil Rights movement, when Dr. Martin Luther King led a march through the area as part of his Freedom Movement, which was devoted to reforming housing practices that discriminated against African Americans. Angry mobs threw bottles and bricks. Dr. King was hit on the head, but not seriously injured.
Over the years, the community has become increasingly diverse. Today, it has a thriving Muslim community as well as an African American Jewish synagogue which will be visited on the tour.
For more than a decade, high school students, organizers, public officials and religious leaders from all walks of life have organized for and passionately aspired towards building Chicago’s memorial of King in Marquette Park. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial project grows organically out of this work and in time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this historic march on August 5th 2016. Recalling the larger legacy of this march, and remembering the struggle for justice, equity, and dignity is more urgent than ever in light of current divisive struggles in our city, country and world
On the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s march, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial project is an effort to recognize the historic importance of the Marquette Park March and leverage that moment to energize and inspire communities across the city and country.
We hope you’ll register for this Walk on Eventbrite!