Hundreds gather to commemorate historic Ky. civil rights march

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Hundreds are spending the day marching at the state capitol to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights march on Frankfort.

Planned by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and the Allied Organizations for Civil Rights, organizers want to mark Kentucky's historic role in helping to end segregation by becoming the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to have a state Civil Rights Act.

The historic March 5, 1964, Civil Rights March on Frankfort included more than 10,000 people who walked to the capitol to urge a law that would help end segregation by making discrimination illegal in the area of public accommodations such as stores, restaurants, theatres, and hotels.

A host of Kentucky civil rights leaders, citizens of all races, and celebrities participated. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, and baseball great Jackie Robinson were among those who traveled to Kentucky to help lead the marchers to the capitol and speak to the crowd from the steps. The folk group Peter, Paul and Mary led songs about freedom.

Gov. Edward (Ned) Breathitt met with Frank Stanley Jr., owner of the Louisville Defender newspaper and a key organizer of the event, other state civil rights leaders, and King and Robinson, to talk about the urgent need for a state civil rights law.

The march helped build support for the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and helped result in the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966.

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