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Attorney reflects on his time as the driver for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Detroit

Celebration event
Posted at 1:51 PM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-16 17:40:45-05

(WXYZ) — Today is about reflecting on the life of iconic civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As his birthday is celebrated around the world today, many have come to pay tribute. His accomplishments are also the focus of a special tour and event at Detroit Historical Museum.

Attorney Elliott Hall shared very special moments during his time as a driver for Dr. King in Detroit. He led an event attended by families to look back on the many accomplishments of the civil rights icon. On his birthday today, and on the 60th anniversary year of his great March to Freedom in Detroit, parents like Ashlee Hampton are ensuring lessons of the past aren’t forgotten.

“It makes me proud to sit down here with my son and daughter. My grandmother was actually at that speech on Woodward. She would tell us about it all the time,” says Ashlee.

Another parent, Tudo Pham, came to attend the event with her 11-month-old son Tobias.

“Brought our family down here just to teach them about the culture and the history. MLK had a big role here in Detroit, a lot of people don’t know about,” says Tudo.

Back in June of 1960, it was a young Elliott Hall who drove Dr. King across the city. The civil rights leader also inspired him to go to law school.

“When you try to do the right thing for a large segment of the population who’ve been kept down in the basement, not everyone will be on your side,” says Hall.

In June 1963, King led 125,000 down Woodward Avenue for a historic gathering. Sadly, he was assassinated in April of 1968, yet his impact in fighting for justice and equality lives on to this day.

“All of us can’t be a King, but we can be a leader, community activist, vote and look for things that are good,” says Hall.

Ashlee adds, “I want my son to understand how important it is to be able to sit among different races, and people and enjoy a presentation like this.”

Despite many threats against his life, Elliott told the crowd that Dr. King Jr. arrived in Detroit with no bodyguards, purely focused on helping others rather than his own safety.