Photo depicting Martin Luther King III enjoying a moment with Lenny Wilkens.

PHOTO ESSAY: MLK60, Honoring the Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

by Susan Fried and Phil Manzano


Seattle celebrated the 60th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Seattle over the weekend in song, recognition, and celebration. 

The three-day event, held by the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), hosted Dr. King’s oldest son, Martin Luther King III, at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, where America’s civil rights leader of the 1960s stayed on his only visit to Seattle.

Saturday, Nov. 6, at Garfield High School where Dr. King spoked to packed audiences 60 years ago, NAAM announced the first group to be inducted into the Circle of Elders, “exceptional Black community leaders over the age of 75 who have led and won victories in the struggle for civil rights, social equity, and opportunity in Seattle’s Central District and greater Pacific Northwest.”

Other events included a prayer vigil at Mount Zion Baptist Church featuring local clergy and culminated in King III’s keynote address at the University of Washington. 

“Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most inspirational affirmation was hope for a better tomorrow and a brighter future for everyone. It was that hope that mobilized the Civil Rights Movement, and it is that very same hope that continues to shape efforts today to create Dr. King’s vision for a more equitable society,” states NAAM’s MLK60 website.

Photo depicting Angela Vega ringing a bell.
Angela Vega, a member of NAAM’s African American Cultural Ensemble (ACE), rings a bell at the end of the prayer vigil to signify Dr. King’s call to let freedom ring. Organizers said they rang the bell in Seattle and King County particularly for voting rights, housing justice, economic empowerment, health equity, educational justice, and peace from gun violence. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting ACE singing at Garfield High School.
The African American Cultural Ensemble (ACE), associated with NAAM, sings at Garfield High School. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting rows of individuals waiting for an event to start with the front row including principal Tarance Hart and NAAM's CEO LaNesha DeBardelaben.
Garfield High School principal Tarance Hart and Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) CEO and President LaNesha DeBardelaben await the beginning of events commemorating Dr. King’s visit to Garfield High School 60 years ago. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting LaNesha DeBardelaben hugging Carver Gayton as he holds a Circle of Elders award.
NAAM CEO and president LaNesha DeBardelaben congratulates Carver Gayton on his Circle of Elders award. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting a row of individuals with their Circle of Elder awards in the Garfield High School cafeteria.
Four of the eight Circle of Elders are recognized Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, at Garfield High School. Left to right: NAAM CEO and President LaNesha DeBardelaben; Elder Eddie Rye Jr.; Rev. Dr. Phyllis Beaumonte, a Mount Zion Baptist Church associate minister who read a letter Dr. King sent to Mount Zion after his visit; Emile Pitre, founding member of the University of Washington’s Black Student Union; Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan; and Carver Gayton, who was a 22-year-old teacher at Garfield High School when Dr. King spoke there. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting a front row of seats at UW where LaNesha DeBardelaben (left in black) speaks with Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, as King County Executive Dow Constantine and Martin Luther King III prepare for the event.
LaNesha DeBardelaben (left in black) speaks with Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, as King County Executive Dow Constantine and Martin Luther King III prepare for the event at University of Washington. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting Josephine Howell singing in a velvet purple suit ensemble.
Josephine Howell inspired the audience at University of Washington in song. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting Eddie Rye Jr. and Martin Luther King III seated in front of a projector screen preparing for a conversation.
Eddie Rye Jr., who led the fight to change Empire Way to Martin Luther King Jr. Way, moderates a conversation with Martin Luther King III at the University of Washington. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting Martin Luther King III speaking at a podium.
Martin Luther King III gives a keynote address at the University of Washington during the NAAM’s MLK60 event. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Susan Fried is a 40-year veteran photographer. Her early career included weddings, portraits, commercial work — plus shes been The Skanner’s Seattle photographer for 25 years. Her images have appeared in the University of Washington Daily, the Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and many more. She’s been an Emerald contributor since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @fried.susan.

Phil Manzano is a South Seattle writer, editor with more than 30 years of experience in daily journalism in Portland, Ore. He is director of Southend Connect, a platform to support small business and build community in South Seattle, as well as the news editor for the Emerald.

📸 Featured Image: Martin Luther King III enjoys a moment with former Sonics basketball coach Lenny Wilkens, who also coached the Atlanta Hawks. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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