Series of community events to kick off next week in Dauphin County to commemorate the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the 50th anniversary of his assassination approaches

HARRISBURG, PA (March 16, 2018) – In Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech, nearly 50 years ago in 1968, he said, “We need all of you...Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be.”

Fifty years later, Dr. King’s message of hope, equality and unity endures and has inspired Dauphin County officials and community leaders to bring people together to remember and reflect on his legacy at a series of special events in March and April that coincide with the 50th anniversary of his assassination on April 4. Presented as MLK50: A Time to Remember the Dream, the special events, including a multi-cultural food tasting, theatrical production, a lecture by a Smithsonian museum curator and an interfaith memorial service, are free to attend and open to the community.

“It all started with a conversation between friends,” said Dauphin County Board of Commissioners’ Chairman Jeff Haste of the commemoration. “One of the most remarkable leaders in history, Dr. King’s teachings have touched all of us in some way, whether we realize it or not. Bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together is what it’s all about.”

The commemoration is coordinated by a volunteer committee that is co-chaired by Haste and former Harrisburg City Council President Gloria Martin-Roberts.

First in the series of events is A Taste of Culture - a free sampling of multi-cultural food, including Moroccan, Indian, Cuban, Greek, Thai and Italian served up by restaurants throughout Dauphin County – will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20 at the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, 1110 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg. During the free tasting, footage of Dr. King’s famous, as well as lesser known, speeches will be shown. Register now for this free event at

On March 21, Senior Curator of History at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Dr. Bill Pretzer will offer a free lecture, “From Civil War to Civil Rights: The Journey Toward Freedom,” at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. From post-Civil War to the civil rights movement led by Dr. King in the 1960s, Pretzer will paint a picture of the “long civil rights era” and social and cultural renaissance. A free reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the lecture at 6:30 p.m. Register by contacting

“At a time when America is divided, we need the community to come together and remember what MLK stood for – love, unity, and equality,” said Martin-Roberts. “These wonderful events, starting with a Taste of Culture and culminating in the Memorial Service, are meant to celebrate the teachings of Dr. King and bring people together, regardless of their background.”

In April, the MLK50 events will continue with a one-woman play entitled “Voices of the F.E.W.” to be performed on April 4 at Gamut Theatre, which has already sold out. A free and open interfaith memorial service paying tribute to Dr. King is planned for 7 p.m. on April 8 at Beth El Temple in Harrisburg.

For a complete and up-to-date list of events, please visit and click on the MLK50 icon.