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Drum Major Institute

Drum Major Institute is dedicated to continuing the unparalleled legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by fostering a culture of nonviolence and active participation in our democracy.


The Drum Major Institute was founded in 1961 by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harry Wachtel, lawyer and counselor to Dr. King during the civil rights movement. The name "Drum Major" stems from a recurring theme in Dr. King's speech, which was delivered on February 4, 1968.

  • Latest from the blog

    DMI Calls on President to Kickstart Election Reform to Honor MLK's 90th Birthday

    Washington - The Drum Major Institute renewed its call for President Trump to issue an executive order permitting the Social Security Administration to issue social security cards with photos to any citizen who requests one. The President promised to take this step in a meeting with civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King III and the Rev. James A. Forbes prior to his inauguration.   This week we celebrate what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 90th birthday. At the core of Dr. King's work was enabling and promoting all citizens to participate in their democracy whether by organizing, marching or - especially - voting. Many impediments to voting remain. One barrier that can be removed with the stroke of a pen is the lack of photo ID for citizens. All citizens are already entitled to a social security card. Adding a photo, at a citizen's request, would be inexpensive and provide valid ID - not just for voting, but to open bank accounts and travel on planes - to millions of Americans who are potentially disenfranchised for no reason other than the lack of proper identification.
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    BREAKING: The New York legislature just passed necessary voting rights bills

    January 14, 2019 - In Albany, the Legislature updated antiquated election laws by approving bills to enact early voting, pre- registration for 16 & 17- year- olds, same day registration, no excuse absentee voting, and mandate that state and federal primaries are held on the same day. "Today we are saying to New York that we are about tearing barriers down," Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Senate Democrats. "We are finally beginning to see New York’s elections begin — just begin — to catch up with the rest of the country,” said Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York.  This is huge for the future of democracy. 
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