CHICAGO — A documentary focused on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s time in Chicago was highlighted during the 32nd annual commemoration event hosted by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Monday.
The new film “Push Excel: The Journey To Excellence” spotlights Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s boldness and courage to help curb housing segregation in Chicago. While marching through Marquette Park and Gage Park in 1966, Dr. King and allies were violently confronted by white counter-protesters.
“This is a terrible thing I’ve been in many demonstrations across the south and I can say I’ve never even in Mississippi and Alabama mobs as hostile and as hate filled as I’ve seen in Chicago,” Dr. King Jr. said at the time.
In the aftermath of his assassination, the Rev. Jesse Jackson was determine to not let Dr. King’s initiatives go to the wayside in an effort to carry out his dreams for quality education.
In 1975, Jackson formed “PUSH Excel” to demand better schools and provide support to minority students.
“Dr. King as a young man as a 16 year-old wrote about the importance of education and actually scolded those who were bigoted about their lack of access to education Rev. Jackson’s first arrest was when he attempted to go to a library to check out a book and they told him no,” PUSH Excel President Dr. Julianne Malveaux said.
For nearly 50 years, PUSH Excel has propelled Dr. King’s vision of an accessible education forward. Judge Greg Mathis, a former high school drop out who served time in jail, is a PUSH Excel alum.
“It was Rev. Jackson and his voice of I am somebody who convinced me that I could change my life and turn towards working for our community,” Mathis said.
Over the years, PUSH Excel awarded more than $10 million in scholarships. Anyone interested in joining PUSH Excel as a mentor can reach out to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.