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2009 Press Releases

Martin Luther King III to Visit Mumbai in Celebration of King-Gandhi Legacy

February 13, 2009

The U.S. Mission in India, in partnership with the Government of India, is commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King's 1959 tour of India.  Dr. King's son, Martin Luther King III, will retrace the steps of his father's Indian pilgrimage.  For a portion of the tour, Martin Luther King III will be joined by prominent American civil rights leaders, including Representative John Lewis, who will be co-leading a Congressional delegation alongside Representative Spencer Bachus; and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.  Andrew Young.  "Living Dream" concerts in New Delhi and Mumbai featuring jazz legend Herbie Hancock, singing sensation Chaka Khan, and renowned tabla player Zakir Hussain will highlight and celebrate the Gandhi-King legacy.

Martin Luther King III and the congressional delegation will visit Mumbai and Ahmedabad while in western India on February 18-20.  In Mumbai, the highlight will be a visit to Mani Bhavan, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife stayed 50 years ago.  Martin Luther King III will also meet with youth to discuss the contemporary relevance of Gandhi and King's legacies on February 19 at YMCA's Bowen Hall, a heritage site recently restored in partnership with the U.S. Consulate General.  The entire delegation will meet with citizens and community leaders who continue to honor the Gandhi-King legacy through their work.

In Ahmedabad, the delegation will visit Sabarmati Ashram, a former residence of Gandhi.  It is a fitting place to pay respect to the resilience and bravery shown by Gandhi and his followers who embarked on the Salt March to Dandi from there.  The delegation will also visit the Gujarat Vidyapith, a university founded by Gandhi, where they will interact with students and tour the campus.

"It is fitting that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's visit to India only weeks after the historic inauguration of President Obama, who was deeply inspired by both Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  As Dr. King himself said, he came to India not as a tourist but as a pilgrim.  Their messages of equal rights, peaceful coexistence, and nonviolent social change still resonate today," U.S. Consul General Paul Folmsbee said.

Martin Luther King III will also visit Trivandrum, Chennai and Kolkata.  He and other members of the delegation will visit with Indian government leaders, social activists, students, and educators on this historic tour which underscores the enduring global importance of the King and Gandhi legacies.  In February 1959, Dr. King and Coretta Scott King traveled throughout India in search of the roots of the nonviolent social action movement for Indian independence, studying Mahatma Gandhi's ideals and meeting his followers around the country.  Upon their return to the United States, Dr. King and other leaders of the civil rights movement drew on Gandhi's ideas to transform American society.

The Congressional delegation includes:  Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) and special guests former Senator Harris Wofford (PA 1991-1995) and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young.


 For more information, please contact Media Advisor Ketan Vaidya on 9821884840 or Media Officer Christine Dal Bello on 9821942857.