Ambassador John B. Emerson participated in a number of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the visit of the legendary American civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to both sides of the then-divided city of Berlin in 1964. On September 13, Ambassador Emerson delivered remarks at a commemorative event at the Berlin Town Hall, at the invitation of Berlin Mayor and Senator of the Interior and Sports, Frank Henkel. On September 14, Ambassador Emerson attended a public service at the Marienkirche together with President Gauck, Bishop Dröge, Mayor Wowereit and other invited dignitaries, where he recited a verse from the Bible. The Marienkirche was one of the two churches at which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. held a sermon during his visit in 1964.
The U.S. Embassy Berlin also supported a youth event commemorating the historic visit of Dr. King to Berlin at the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer on September 12. Dr. Charles Steele, Jr. President Emeritius and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a civil rights organization founded by Dr. King, and students from the Ernst-Reuter-Oberschule and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Schule came together for a panel discussion on the legacy of Dr. King and what it means for today’s society. The two schools have been working together for the past year in developing the “King Code,” a multi-faceted project tracing the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to Berlin. Students from the John-F.-Kennedy School performed several songs inspired by the civil rights movement in the U.S. in the 1960s.