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Long Beach MLK Celebrates Thirty-Nine Years At  MLK Way Facility
North Park Community  Remembers Those Who Fought to Establish the MLK Center

39 at Riverside

Long Beach, New York,  September 24, 2020 – The Long Beach Martin Luther King Center, Inc. is celebrating the thirty-nine years of its residence at 615 Riverside Boulevard (MLK Way) on September 30th through October 3rd. The celebration theme, “39 at Riverside”, acknowledges the African American leaders and allies who advocated for constructing the building before its full erection in 1981. The four-day virtual event will also serve as a fundraiser for the Center and its programs. The original lease for the facility was signed on September 25, 1981 commenced on October 1st of the same year. The MLK Center building has long served as a testament to black struggles for equity and justice in Long Beach. It would not exist if it were not for the African American proponents of civil rights and equality.

As an organization, the MLK Center was founded in 1967 by African American migrants from the South, who fought for civil rights and youth empowerment in Long Beach and other parts of Long Island. Long Beach’s African American migrants learned quickly that racism in the North resembled their existence in the South.  According to former  Long Beach MLK Executive Director and historian, Dr. Patrick Graham, “The Center on MLK Way symbolizes black efforts to establish a community center that met community needs and the autonomy and ownership needed to combat systemic racism,” he says. “In today’s current climate and calls for equity, the MLK mission is as vital today as ever.”

MLK Board Chair, James Hodge, could not agree more. “This facility would not exist if it were not for the efforts of black people demanding a building that met community needs,” he says. “We are still meeting the needs of youth through tutoring, technology, and providing for the most vulnerable, as exemplified by our Grab and Go Food Program during the COVID-19 pandemic.” In fact, throughout the organization’s fifty-three-year history and thirty-nine years at MLK Way, the Center has been instrumental in the development and empowerment of Long Beach’s North Park community.

The 39 at Riverside celebration will showcase nightly presentations at 7PM EST beginning on September 30th. The features will include a panel of former executives and founders discussing the history and the present relevance of the Center. The other days will highlight individual talents of the North Park community along with past and present North Park leaders and community members, and the current Board of Directors uplifting the legacy of the Center and the need to support the original intent of its founders.

For more information on the “39 at Riverside” anniversary/fundraiser celebration, to participate in the Virtual Event, and to share a Commemorative Gift please call (516) 889-6300.