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A retired local minister who heard the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech has organized a trip to Washington, D.C., next week for the 50th anniversary celebration.
The bus trip will be a reminder for the Rev. Wayne Hanrattie, a retired Presbyterian minister who took a six-hour bus trip on a day’s notice from his native New Jersey to the nation’s capital to hear King speak in 1963. A notice in the local newspaper got his attention.
“I made a quick phone call the day before,” said Hanrattie, now 72. “There was room available. And we headed off.”
King’s historic speech about bringing an end to racism in America was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd estimated at 250,000.
This trip will include a stop at the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor. Speeches that day will include 55-year-old Martin Luther King III, the late minister’s son and a civil rights activist.
Hanrattie said he is spreading the word about the opportunity among political parties, Interfaith Forum of Columbus, area churches and other groups.
A national ceremony Aug. 24 at the Lincoln Memorial will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., four days ahead of what would be the 50th anniversary.
The Rev. Jarvis Cooper, pastor of Columbus’ Faith Ministries Church, is fairly certain he will make the trip. He saw King speak in Memphis, Tenn., at a church days before his assassination on April 4, 1968.
“I see this as a real opportunity to be re-energized and to be with like-minded people,” Cooper said.
For the trip, Hanrattie plans to have passengers switch seats every 30 minutes or so for the first few hours so they can get to know one another.
King speech anniversary bus trip
WHAT: The Rev. Wayne Hanrattie, a retired Presbyterian minister from Columbus, has organized a bus trip to Washington, D.C., for the 50-year anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
DEPARTURE: The 46-seat vehicle from Cavallo Bus Lines will leave from City Hall at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 and arrive in the Capitol at 7 a.m. the next day.
TRIP BACK: The bus will leave the Capitol at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 and return to Columbus by 7 a.m. Aug. 25.
AMENITIES: The bus is air-conditioned and includes a restroom, but there are no overnight accommodations. People are welcome to bring snacks to eat on the bus.
COST: $50-per-person round-trip motor coach. That takes into consideration that an anonymous donor is underwriting half of the cost of this trip.
RSVP: Payment due by Wednesday.
INFORMATION: Hanrattie at 372-1228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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