Tommie Brown speaks at Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Chattanooga

Tommie Brown speaks at Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Chattanooga

January 19th, 2014 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Mark Making will be unveiling "FACE to FACE," in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Monday at the corner of Glass Street and Dodson Avenue.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Former state Rep. Tommie Brown, keynote speaker for Chattanooga's Martin Luther King Day events Monday, says she wants to have a work session on the lessons learned between passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and today.

"This is not a speech, but a think piece," she said.

The Unity Group is among organizations and schools across the country hosting events to remember the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil rights leader who fought for social, racial and economic equality. He was assassinated in Memphis in 1968.

For the first time in at least 40 years, the local King observance will culminate at Olivet Baptist Church, where the celebration started, said Quenston Coleman, chairman of the event.

This is the 50th year anniversary of the passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, said Coleman. "I want people to get a feel of the sacrifices that were made and the leadership that the church community provided," he said.

The law is considered a crowning legislative achievement of the civil rights movement. It is intended to end segregation in public places and ban employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Brown, a retired professor from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, invited people coming to Olivet Baptist Church on Monday to bring their notebooks, iPads or paper and pencil and participate in the discussion.

She plans to leave people with a challenge, but didn't want to reveal it before the ceremony.

"I may have to leave town when I finish," she said.

Other events planned for Monday include:

• Mark Marking, a local organization that produces public art projects led by professional artists, will unveil a mural at 1 p.m. Monday in honor of King. The mural, at the corner of Glass Street and Dodson Avenue, is called "FACE to FACE" and is intended to bring Chattanoogans face to face with East Chattanooga youth and the issues they confront.

• Girls Preparatory School encourages students to use technology to educate themselves about King and the civil rights movement by using their iPads, laptops and iPhones to access pages on the GPS website that include video and descriptions of different events that occurred during the movement.

• The Unity Group will host a parade at 4 p.m. Monday that will start at the Tivoli Theatre and end at Olivet Baptist Church on M.L. King Boulevard.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at or 757-6431.