Symbolically rang on the King Holiday at noon at the request of Mrs. King to officially inaugurate the Holiday.
The Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence, Inc. was founded by the late Dr. C. DeLores Tucker and a group of local leaders in 1983, 17 years after the assassination of Dr. King. Waverly Easley, then President of the Philadelphia Tribune and a stalwart supporter, was the first to respond. He provided the office space and organizational support during the beginning years. Many of the early leaders had personally known Dr. King and had been inspired by his works and messages.
Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, knew that Philadelphia held a special place in her late husband’s heart and thought it fitting to have a permanent organization dedicated to his ideals of peace and freedom in the City of Brotherly Love. The Association is the only affiliate commissioned by Mrs. King and the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. Philadelphia has and continues to enjoy a unique and historic role in the life of Dr. King and his memory. The last office he opened before his assassination was opened here in an office given to him by William Tucker, the husband of C. DeLores Tucker.
The last fund-raising gala “Stars for Freedom” was held at the Spectrum in 1967 and was chaired by C. DeLores Tucker. Every King holiday commences with the ringing of the Liberty Bell at 12:00 noon at Independence Hall. The King Association, located at 1809 Spring Garden Street, at that time , was founded to develop programs in the Northeast region of the United States and to serve as a pioneering model for future programs in other parts of the nation.
Shortly after its establishment, Pennsylvania’s then Governor, Richard Thornburgh designated the Association as the Commonwealth’s official resource center on civil rights and nonviolence. Since then, the Association has grown to produce an active, year-round schedule of programs and activities that amplify the teachings and principles espoused by Dr. King. Through the myriad of activities, people of all ages learn about the significance of Dr. King’s works and how to incorporate Kingian principles into their own lives to make a positive difference.
The Association is now located at 3001 Walnut Street and services the entire Philadelphia area and vicinity. The Association works with area educators, corporations, business, social organizations, and religious and community groups, as well as the general public. The Association seeks to develop and present related curricular, extracurricular and informational programs and events within the general community and to develop leadership in working toward the prevention of “nonviolent social change” in all walks of life.
The Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence, Inc.’s mission is to preserve and advance the work of Dr. Martin Luther king, Jr. through educating, interpreting, advocating, and promoting non-violent theory and philosophy.