Idaho will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

Jill Gill, professor of history at Boise State University, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act in her keynote address at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr.- Idaho Human Rights Day celebration.

Gill, who is widely known for her dynamic and provocative presentations on the history of race, rights and religion in the United States, is currently heading up a project to transform the Idaho Black History Museum’s permanent exhibit into an e-book for Idaho students and teachers.

The event, beginning at noon Monday, Jan. 20, on the second floor of the state Capitol Rotunda, is open to the public and directed by the Idaho Human Rights Commission, a division of the Idaho Department of Labor.  Joseph B. McNeal V will serve as master of ceremonies.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little will formally proclaim Idaho’s 27th annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth on Jan. 15, 1929.

A trumpet fanfare by Alex Noppe and Boise State University students will open the celebration that includes a Mountain Home Air Force Base Color Guard.

The Common Ground Community Chorus will perform “I Have a Dream” before Clarisse Maxwell introduces Gill.  The youth group, “The Swirl,” will also perform an original song, “People Like Me,” one of the songs they sing to promote their mission of helping children deal with bullying, loneliness and poverty.  Performing arts and music teacher Leta Neustaedter will lead the audience in singing “We Shall Overcome” to close the event.

Michael Shaw will do sign language interpretation at the event, and Boise Peace Quilters will display a peace quilt amid the information tables staffed by community partners.

The Human Rights Commission enforces laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that make it illegal to discriminate against people in the workplace, housing, public accommodation and education because of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability and age.

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