Photo depicting Keimani Leonard and Josias Jean-Pierre holding up a banner while Alexis Mburu shouts into a megaphone.

PHOTO ESSAY | MLK March 2023

The Seattle Martin Luther King Jr. Organizing Coalition celebrates “40 Years of Continuing King’s Mission”

by Susan Fried


After two years of being unable to use Garfield High School due to pandemic restrictions, the Seattle Martin Luther King Jr. Organizing Coalition took full advantage of access this year. On the 40th anniversary of the MLK March and Rally on Monday, Jan. 16, the coalition hosted a jobs fair, workshops, and a huge rally in the high school gym. The weather turned out to be beautiful for the thousands of people who marched from Garfield, with a brief stop at the King County Juvenile Detention Center, to Jimi Hendrix Park by the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) where another small rally was held. 

People who had participated in the march could also explore NAAM, which officially reopened, after an almost three-year closure. The museum has three new exhibits including “A Long Walk to Hope,” by Susan Fried, a show dedicated to the history of the MLK March, one of the longest-running and largest celebrations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy in the Pacific Northwest.

Photo depicting thousands of marchers during the MLK Day march.
Thousands joined the annual MLK March on a beautiful Seattle January day. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting Josias Jean-Pierre in a black blazer and purple collared shirt holding up a banner that reads, "Seattle Martin Luther King Jr. Organizing Coalition, Marching for Justice Since 1983."
Josias Jean-Pierre helps lead the MLK March from Garfield High School to Jimi Hendrix Park, Monday, Jan. 16. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting marchers gathering outside the sign for the King County Judge Patricia H. Clark Children & Family Justice Center.
The march stopped briefly at the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center, which houses a juvenile detention center, before heading to Jimi Hendrix Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting thousands of marchers moving along a street from Garfield High School.
Thousands of people marched from Garfield High School to Jimi Hendrix Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown wearing a black outfit with a colorful traditional accessories singing at a podium.
The Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown from Plymouth Church sings “Somebody’s Hurting My Brother” before speaking about economic justice during the 40th annual MLK Day celebration on Jan. 16 at Garfield High School. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting Kimonti Carter wearing a black hooded sweatshirt speaking at a podium in Garfield High School's gym.
Kimonti Carter and the Black Prisoners Caucus speak about mass incarceration and their organization during the 40th annual MLK Day Celebration on Jan. 16, at Garfield High School. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting Fai Matthews wearing traditional African apparel standing with a placard that reads, "Happy Birthday, the right to vote is a civil right," along with a photo of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Fai Mathews, who has attended the annual MLK Celebration and march for decades, listens to a speech on economic justice by the Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown during the rally in the Garfield High School gym. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting a young Black girl wearing a green-and-yellow headscarf clapping her hands.
A little girl claps during a musical performance by Jayza Duhon at the 40th annual celebration of the life of MLK at Garfield High School on Monday, Jan. 16. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting Larry Gossett speaking at a podium with Eddie Rye Jr. beside him.
Original MLK Organizing Committee members Larry Gossett (left) and Eddie Rye Jr. talk about the history of the march. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting a Black man listening intently with a poster that reads, "Freedom for All; We Shall Overcome."
A man listens intently to a speaker during the rally at Garfield High School on Jan. 16. The rally featured speeches about housing justice, labor rights, mass incarceration, economic justice, and included musical performances by the Northwest African American Museum’s choir, Samira Rain, and Jayza Duhon. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting an individual wearing a black puffer jacket viewing photos in an exhibit.
A visitor to NAAM’s reopening looks at some of the photos in the exhibit entitled “A Long Walk to Hope,” by Susan Fried, exploring Seattle’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day annual march. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo depicting a family of three gathered at the entrance of the "A Long Walk to Hope" exhibit.
Some museum guests check out “A Long Walk to Hope,” by Susan Fried. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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

📸 Featured Image: From left to right: Keimani Leonard, Alexis Mburu, and Josias Jean-Pierre lead the march from Garfield High School to Jimi Hendrix Park, Monday, Jan. 16, the 40th anniversary of Seattle’s celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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