CHICAGO (CBS) — It was 55 years ago this week that Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. led a civil rights march for Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood on the southwest side.
On Friday, community leaders remembered that historic and very difficult day.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisory Issued For Illinois; 1-3 Inches Of Snow Possible
Fighting for housing equality, Dr. King and his followers were met by an angry mob made up of hundreds of white protesters, blocking the streets.
King later told reporters he’d never seen a mob so filled with hate, not even in the south.
Almost immediately, King was hit by a rock. The impact so great, he was knocked down to the ground. But he got up and continued to march. Bricks and bottles followed, and a full-scale riot broke out with dozens of injuries and arrests.READ MORE: Chicago Park District Hosts Polar Adventure Days At Northerly Island
Now, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial stands at Kedzie and Marquette Road. Black and Brown community leaders joined together to remember what happened and to give thanks for Dr. King’s trailblazing courage.
“While his heroism and his prophecy are now honored, he suffered a tremendous amount of abuse for his willingness to speak out on issues of racial injustice, economic justice,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
“A day like today, 55 years ago, did not look like this,” said Alfredo Palafox of the Southwest Organizing Project. “When Martin Luther King and civil rights activists marched right here. And to be present in moment, this is powerful. This is history.MORE NEWS: Northwestern Medicine Study Gives Clues About How Long COVID-19 Symptoms Can Linger
The memorial was dedicated on August 5, 2016 on the 50th anniversary of the Marquette march. Weeks after the march, the city and the civil rights leaders reached the “Summit Agreement” with the goal of ensuring fair housing in Chicago.