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A pair of civil rights leaders are in town this week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

Rabbi Israel Dresner and Dorie Ladner are speaking in town this week..

A reception at Temple Beth El Tuesday honored Dresner for his activism during the Freedom Summer of 1964. He was known for his civil rights activism across the South and was very close with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Knoxville pastor Harold Middlebrook, a strong figure from the Civil Rights Movement, says the rabbi was instrumental organizing the Jewish community for civil rights.

"There had to be a serious move on the part of people of all faiths and rabbi was one of those who organized the Jewish community and others to put pressure on congressmen to make sure that they passed the bill," said Rev. Middlebrook.

Wednesday, Dresner and Ladner will participate in a march through Downtown Knoxville with other local civil rights leaders.

After the march, they will speak at Mount Olive Baptist Church to celebrate the 50th anniversary of president Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act.

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