by Max Brantley
What does the state M.L. King Commission do, someone asked.
One answer: Organizes a bus trip to the Obama inaugural is what.
Trailways to and from D.C., three nights in a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express in Arlington, Va., for $550 a head if you stay four to a room. Meals and event tickets not included.
CONTACT: DEWAYNE GRAHAM
TO ALL MEDIA OUTLETS:
The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, announces an innovative program to involve people in the nation's most historic Presidential Inauguration since 1789. In that year, George Washington was sworn in as our first President at the Federal Hall in New York City.
"The Presidential Inauguration has seen many firsts since Washington's ceremony," says DuShun Scarbrough, AMLKC Executive Director, "but none has ever been like the one we will witness on January 20, 2009."
Dewayne Graham, AMLKC Communications Director, agrees. "I've covered Presidential Inaugurations with various news outlets since Reagan's inauguration in 1981," Graham says, "but I've never seen nor felt the groundswell that comes with this one."
Graham refers to some of the historical firsts: 1801--Thomas Jefferson, the first to be sworn in at the new U.S. Capitol; 1829--Andrew Jackson, the first to be sworn in on the East Portico; 1837--Martin Van Buren, the first to make the trip with his predecessor from the White House to the Capitol for the swearing in, and the two rode in a carriage made from wood of the old U.S.S. Constitution; 1937--Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for his second term, the first to be sworn in under the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, which moved the swearing-in date from March to January.
"Still with all the firsts, this is THE FIRST FOR A NEW GENERATION," says Graham, referring to the nation's first African American to be elected by popular and electoral vote. "It's exactly what Dr. King had in mind forty-five years ago when he made the famous 'I Have A Dream' speech in Washington," Graham adds. "I think Dr. King knew, as he looked out over the Reflecting Pool, that one day, an African American would stand at the Capitol, which the crowd in 1963 could easily see, and take the Oath of Office as our Chief Executive."
Because of the historical significance of this election and the upcoming Presidential Inauguration, the AMLKC has organized a major bus tour for the event. The tour includes round-trip transportation from Little Rock to D.C., as well as three nights of accommodations at hotels in Arlington, Virginia, about 15 minutes away from D.C. There will be a D.C. tour for all participants on Monday before the Inauguration and all will be carried to the downtown area for viewing as much of the actual ceremony as space will allow.
"This is for anyone who wants to go," says DuShun Scarbrough. "We've partnered with some universities in the state and our hopes are to have as many college students go along who can. But, we're taking reservations from anyone who wants to go, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. It's about diversity. Dr. King was about diversity. This election was about diversity, and this trip is about diversity," concludes Scarbrough.
The package costs of this trip are included in the attachment to this News Release or can be found by going to AMLKC's website at www.arkingdream.org.
Deadline for deposits and reservations is set for November 28th. However, the Commission is asking all to have their reservations in by the 26th, so as to avoid the rush around Thanksgiving holidays.