The Kent Memorial Library will present a program with Congressman John Lewis, one of the six organizers of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 4.

The program will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march, one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history.

The climax of the march, in which demonstrators called for civil and economic rights for African-Americans, occurred at the Lincoln Memorial, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties and building what he calls "The Beloved Community" in America.

Born the son of sharecroppers in 1940 in Alabama, Lewis grew up on his family's farm and attended segregated public schools in Alabama.

As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery bus boycott and the words of King, which he heard on radio broadcasts.

Since he became a part of the civil rights movement, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.

The metaphors and messages in King's speech translate into visual imagery, movement, music and discourse about all forms of civil rights.

The library has joined with the After School Arts Program based in Washington, the Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts in Kent and Housatonic Regional High School in Falls Village to create a series of events to commemorate the occasion.

The After School Arts Program will translate the message in King's speech into special art programs at its summer camp.

Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts will dedicate the choreography in its July 27 performance at Marvelwood School to the meaning of freedom.

The Housatonic Regional High School will translate it into an essay contest for its students.

"The march was a seminal event in the history of the civil rights movement in America," said Kenneth Cooper, president of the Kent Library Association.

"Fifty years later, the messages of its leaders are still relevant and have evolved from race to gender, sexual orientation and cultural diversity," he said.

"We hope to remember an important event in the history of the country and expose a new generation to its importance," he said.

Initial registration for Lewis's program will be limited to members of the Kent Library Association.

The library is in the midst of its 2013 membership drive; people with interests in Litchfield County are encourged to join.

The registration fee is $15 for Kent residents, $25 for nonresidents. There are no refunds.

For more information, visit or call 860-927-3761.