American Black Journal teamed up with BridgeDetroit for a virtual town hall commemorating the 60th anniversary of two historic events in the Civil Rights Movement: the 1963 Detroit Walk to Freedom and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Detroit’s 1963 Walk to Freedom was the largest civil rights demonstration ever at the time, organized by prominent religious and civil rights leaders Rev. C.L. Franklin and Rev. Albert Cleage, Jr. among others. The march traveled down Woodward Avenue with at least 125,000 people in attendance, and it featured Dr. Martin Luther King delivering an early version of his renowned “I Have A Dream” speech at Cobo Arena. Two months later, he would deliver the iconic speech atop the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.


“American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson leads a series of in-depth conversations about these milestone civil rights events with the town hall’s special guests, including Detroit historian Ken Coleman talking about the significance of both marches and their status in the history books.

Then, Rev. Horace Sheffield III, executive director of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO) joins the conversation to talk about his father, community and labor leader Horace Sheffield Jr.’s significant role in the Detroit Walk to Freedom and how it has influenced his own life as a social activist.

Detroit and community activist Edith Lee-Payne joins Henderson to share her memories of participating in the Walk to Freedom and March on Washington with her mother as a young girl. Plus, Orlando Bailey, engagement director for BridgeDetroit, and Rev. Kenneth Pierce II, of the Detroit Branch NAACP, jump into the conversation to talk about the next generation of African American civil rights leaders.

Join these guests and others as we reflect on the 1963 Detroit Walk to Freedom and look ahead to the August 2023 anniversary of the March on Washington.

Future of Work Town Hall Participants:

Stephen Henderson: American Black Journal host / BridgeDetroit Executive Editor

Stephen Henderson headshotStephen Henderson is the current host of American Black Journal, WDET’s Detroit Today radio show, and executive editor of BridgeDetroit.  He is a former Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial page editor of The Detroit Free Press. A Detroit native, Henderson is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and the University of Michigan. He has worked previously as a reporter, editorial writer, and editor at the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, and the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau, where he covered the Supreme Court from 2003-2007.

Henderson’s work has been honored with more than a dozen national awards, including for work that is published in the book, “Best Newspaper Writing 2001.” Henderson connects to readers and viewers with perspective and passionate opinion. Follow Stephen on Twitter @SHDetroit.

Ken Coleman: Michigan Advance senior reporter / Detroit historian

Michigan Advance Senior Reporter Ken ColemanKen Coleman writes about Southeast Michigan, history and civil rights as a senior reporter for Michigan Advance. He is also known as an unofficial Detroit historian. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and has served as an “American Black Journal” segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on Black life in Detroit.

Edith Lee-Payne: Civil Rights activist / Independent historian

Edith Lee Payne headshotEdith has been an activist for social justice in areas of education, housing, public safety, police and community relations, and civil rights spanning four decades. In 2008, Edith learned she had a permanent place in history after discovering that three photographs taken of her at the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom are among the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Most notably, one of the images appears on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial brochure, in the Records of Rights permanent exhibit in the David M. Rubenstein Gallery of the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C., and in the recently opened Oprah Winfrey Gallery in the National Museum of African American History and Culture along with the pennant Edith held in the historic photo.

Edith brings history to life when speaking to audiences of all ages on her personal recollections, observations, and interpretations of growing up during the Civil Rights Movement to the present. As the poster child for the Civil Rights Movement, Edith has made a variety of local, national, and international appearances. Edith is among over 150 men and women who championed racial and social injustices throughout the United States in the Comcast/NBCUniversal™ and the Equal Justice Initiative collaboration, Voices of the Civil Rights Movement, to honor the 50th Anniversary of the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Edith is Executive Director and Co-founder of the Lee-Lovett Foundation (LLF); a non-profit organization that educates, promotes, and encourages organ and tissue donation targeting potential donors in the African American community where donors are most needed. The LLF was founded in memory of her eldest son, Antoine Christopher Lee, and co-founded with the late James Lovett Jr., the recipient of Antoine’s heart.  Her advocacy for organ and tissue donation has been recognized globally. Her professional career also includes freelance consulting in marketing, political and public affairs, and as a political strategist.

Edith is a native of and currently resides in Detroit, Michigan. She received her education through the Detroit Public Schools and earned a B.P.A. in Public Affairs from Wayne State University.  Edith has been an active member of Carter Metropolitan CME Church of the Third Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church for over 50 years.  She has one adult son, eight grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Rev. Horace Sheffield III: Detroit Association of Black Organizations Executive Director

Rev. Horace Sheffield III headshotRev. Horace L. Sheffield, III, was born in Detroit, Michigan during the midst of the civil rights and labor movements. The legacy of his father, Horace L. Sheffield, Jr., who was the president of the Negro American Labor Council (NALC) helped shape and expose him to a great model of servant leadership and prophetic societal challenge. With this foundation, social activism has been the driving force in many of his efforts to help move change in the black community.

Rev. Sheffield is the executive director of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO) where he leads and builds the Detroit community by developing the skills, abilities, and resources that organizations and communities need to be sustainable in this fast-changing world. The organization’s main purpose is to impact and enrich lives across the city of Detroit. DABO has had many successful initiatives under Rev. Sheffield including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, hosting leadership training, HIV prevention, community development, and much more.

Rev. Sheffield is currently the president of the Michigan Chapter of the National Action Network (NAN), national chairperson of the Restore Black Wall Street 2021 campaign, chairperson of the Detroit Ecumenical Ministers Alliance, lifetime member of the NAACP, and national board member of the Black Leadership Commission on Aide and the National Cares Movement.

Orlando Bailey: BridgeDetroit Engagement Director / Authentically Detroit co-host / Urban Consulate host

Orlando BaileyA lifelong Detroiter, Orlando P. Bailey learned how to practice community development in the neighborhood where he was born.

Passionate about shifting the narrative of Black cities & neighborhoods, Bailey is an Emmy Award winning journalist, Director of Engagement for BridgeDetroit, co-host of the podcast Authentically Detroit, and host of Urban Consulate. Previously, he served as Chief Development Officer for the Eastside Community Network.

A sought-after voice for public dialogues & media, Bailey has appeared on stages & screens for The Aspen Institute, SXSW, Canadian Urban Institute, Wellbeing Cities Forum, American Black Journal on Detroit Public TV and more. In 2019, Bailey traveled across Europe with The German Marshall Fund of the United States. In 2020, he was named a BMe Vanguard Fellow. In 2015, he was selected as an Emerging City Champion by Knight Foundation and 880 Cities in Toronto.

In 2010, Bailey was the recipient of the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from Eastern Michigan University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. Since then, Bailey has had the privilege to interview hundreds of visionaries and changemakers, including Dr. Cornel West, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, Dr. Andre M. Perry and more.

Rooted in his faith and radical love for his community, Bailey is a passionate advocate for city residents as experts in their lived experience. He continues to reside on Detroit’s Eastside.

Rev. Kenneth Pierce II: Detroit NAACP 1st Vice President / Hopewell Church pastor

Rev. Kenneth Pierce II of the Detroit NAACPPastor K.C. Pierce II is an anointed preacher and teacher whose vision for God’s people enables him to build bridges, and reach across denominations, generations, gender, race, culture, and ethnicity while changing lives and building communities.

He is the older of two children, born in a Christian and God-fearing home. His parents are Rev. Dr. Kenneth C. Pierce and Mrs. Ilean Pierce. He is a proud parent of three children. Pastor Pierce is a graduate of Murray Wright High School. Furthering his education at Baker College, Oakland Community College, and Ashland Theological Seminary. 

Six years ago Pastor Pierce II was called to the Hopewell Church, Detroit, MI where he now serves as the Senior Pastor. He is the founder and CEO of the Hopewell CDC Inc., a very active and vital help to the community, which encompasses a weekly food giveaway program since the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. He is also the founder of My Brothers’ Keeper mentorship program for inner city young males (grades 5-8). 

Pastor Pierce proudly serves as an active Executive Committee Member and Chair of Religious Affairs of the NAACP, Detroit branch. He has worked diligently on the Soles to the Polls campaign in helping to get millennials registered to vote. 

He is an active member of the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit Vicinity, where he proudly serves on the Executive Board and Co-chair of the Political and Social Justice Committee. 

He also serves as Wayne County Sheriff Chaplin, Chaplain and activist for SEIU, activist for 1 Detroit, community partner for Focus Hope & Hope Village, and Clergy Partner for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmore. Pastor Pierce II is the proud recipient of the African-American Leadership Award.

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