MLK Memorial Dedication to Include Obama, Aretha Franklin

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is best remembered for his stirring 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. Now, nearly five decades later, Shirley Murdock will sing her powerfully moving song, “Dream,” as a tribute to King on Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial unveiling ceremony.

The event starts with an hour-long “Morning Joy” program at 8 a.m. at West Potomac Park on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., followed by many notable speakers like the Rev. Al Sharpton, Dan Rather, and actress Cicely Tyson. President Barack Obama will deliver the dedication address. Aretha Franklin is also listed as one of the dedication participants.

Murdock feels honored to sing at Dr. King’s Memorial; she still remembers the day he was assassinated.

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“I was almost 11 years old,” she said. “I remember all the adults being absolutely grief stricken, as if a family member had died. There was a lot of hurt, disbelief and anger after Dr. King died. My mother was a praying woman, so as she placed her worries into God’s hands, I drew my peace from her peace.”

About Dr. King, Murdock said, “I heard him being referred to as the ‘Moses’ of our time. Like Moses, he didn’t make it to the Promised Land, but he let us know he’d been to the mountaintop and that his eyes had seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

Murdock wrote “Dream” with her husband about a decade ago, for a Bishop T.D. Jakes event. It took the song 10 years before it became a radio hit. “Dream” is included on her upcoming CD/DVD, Live: The Journey, available on Oct. 18 from Tyscot Records.

“My song is a reminder that God is the giver and the fulfiller of all the dreams He places in our hearts,” said Murdock. “The dream is a glimpse of our future selves being more and doing more. It’s us at our best, fulfilling our purpose to loving one another, serving one another, celebrating and embracing our diversity and uniqueness.”

Shirley Murdock is known for singing both R&B and Gospel music. She started out as a back-up singer for the band Zapp with Roger Troutman in the 1980s, and later went on to score several R&B solo hits including “As We Lay,” “Go on Without You,” and “Husband.” In 2002, she released her first Gospel project, Home, through T.D. Jakes’ label. Besides singing, she has become a successful stage actress, recently appearing in several inspirational plays and musicals.

To see Shirley singing "Dream," go to

Dr. King Memorial info:

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