New Britain’s Mary McLeod Bethune Club (MMBC) observed the anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 5th — a memorial event club members have organized for most of the 46 years since the civil rights leader was killed in Memphis on April 4, 1968.
CCSU Anthropology Professor, Dr Evelyn Harris, the featured speaker at the King Monument Memorial held at the MLK city park at the corner of Stanley Street and MLK Boulevard, told a small gathering that New Britain’s King monument was one of the first memorials of its kind in the country. Participating in the program were MMBC President Chery Niccolls, NBPD Officer Marcus Burris, Master of Ceremonies; Music Soloist Linda Vickers with Marzell Jackson laying the wreath at the monument. Ward 3 Alderwoman Shirley Black and NAACP President Ron Davis shared remarks at the monument.
Other speakers, including longtime Club President Janice Edwards, recalled that the city’s King monument was originally located at East Main and MLK Boulevard on a traffic island, a target of frequent vandalism and even visits from local KKK adherents. The Bethune Club organized residents to stare down the Klan nonviolently when they showed up and began the effort for a better site.
|Alton Brooks, a leader in the effort to establish MLK Park, with New Britain’s finest.|
With leaders such as Edwards, Alton Brooks and the late former Alderwoman Connie Wilson Collins pushing city government, the little corner park for the King monument was established further up the road. Today inlaid bricks recognize donors from the community who contributed to make MLK Park possible.
|Police Officer Marcus Burris and MMBC President Chery Niccolls|
|Democratic District Leader Mario Santos and Board of Education member Merrill Gay participated.|
|Duane Hinkson with sons Dillon and Devon and MMB Club Member Janice Edwards|