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Families look back at civil rights movement at Henry Ford Museum on MLK Day

Posted at 11:49 PM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-16 23:50:41-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Many metro Detroit communities took time to celebrate the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday.

From rallies to parades, King's legacy took center stage.

Monday, the Henry Ford Museum gave families the opportunity to look back at history and the impact of the civil rights movement.

"He opened the doors for a lot of Black people," Mattie Gatson said.

Gatson was a young girl when King set out to change hearts and minds. The 70-year-old says she remembers being segregated from her white peers.

King's dreams upset the status quo, making way for a world where blackness is badge of honor and not a scarlet letter.

"Even though the color of our skin still holds us back," Gatson said. "You know I can say that."

"I was raised in Sunflower Mississippi, and I came up with Jim Crow," Gatson added.

The holiday is time where many reflect on how times have changed.

"It is definitely different. Growing up, you learn just a little, but I don't think it was enough," Aria Griffin said.

That's why Griffin chose the Henry Ford Museum for Monday's family outing.

"I am grateful to be here. I am happy all the families are here meeting new people and learning about the same person together as one," Griffin said.

Knowledge is power and Ronald Hawkins says learning about the past can help us build a better future.

"Dr. King, Rosa Parks, people like that, Jesse Jackson, Harriet Tubman learning their history, not only the Black culture but to human rights period," Hawkins said.

When asked how King would feel about our progress today Hawkins said, "I think he would be happy, but I think he would say the struggle is still going."

Coretta Scott King once said, "Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation."

"We fought for ya'll to take advantage of all the opportunities that you have in America today. There's no reason that we Black people can't do and be what we want to be," Gatson said.