Tag: martin luther king

This Week in Research: The March on Washington & Jumpstarting the Heart with Light

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As you’d be hard pressed not to know by now, this week marks the fiftieth anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where a quarter of a million Americans gathered on the Washington Mall to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. make his “I Have a Dream” speech.

One of the crucial aspects of the 1963 march was that it brought together activists and organizers from across the country, says Johns Hopkins history professor Nathan Connolly. That meant that it became quickly clear that racial segregation — and attendant problems of police brutality, and housing and labor discrimination — was emphatically not just a Southern problem.

Have You seen The Mountaintop? Now’s Your Chance with Our Ticket Giveaway

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Myxolydia Tyler and Shawn Hamilton in CenterStage's production of The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah. Photo by Richard Anderson
Myxolydia Tyler and Shawn Hamilton in CenterStage’s production of The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah. Photo by Richard Anderson

Everyone is raving about The Mountaintop, the two-character play by Katori Hall at Center Stage that imagines Dr. King’s last night on Earth—alone in his room at the Lorraine Motel, save for the presence of a maid. Directed by Center Stage’s new artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, the production has been called “A must see theater event” by Chesapeake Taste and “Thrilling” by the City Paper. DC Metro Theatre Arts gave it five stars.

Get your chance to see the play with our first ever ticket giveaway!  Like this post on Facebook and be eligible to win two tickets to the play, Monday – Thursday of next week.  We’ll hold the drawing on Thursday.

 

Pulitzer Prize Winner Taylor Branch Talks About Race at the Pratt, Tuesday, Jan. 29

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As part of Open Society Institute-Baltimore’s “Talking About Race” series, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch will discuss his upcoming new book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement, and the importance of making history accessible for today’s youth at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Tuesday, January 29 at 7 p.m.

He will be joined by educators Traci L. Wright, upper school dean of students at The Park School of Baltimore, and Karen Webber-Ndour, executive director of student support services for Baltimore City Public Schools.

The Mountaintop at Center Stage

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Myxolydia Tyler and Shawn Hamilton in CenterStage's production of The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah. Photo by Richard Anderson
Myxolydia Tyler and Shawn Hamilton in The Mountaintop

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April 3rd, 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had just given his famous, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to striking sanitary workers in Memphis. Though the speech’s intention was to rally and support the workers, King felt he had to address the mounting number of threats against his life. He told the workers: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”

We all know what happened the next day. Katori Hall’s play, The Mountaintop imagines Dr. King’s last night on Earth—alone in his room at the Lorraine Motel, save for the presence of a maid—the charming (and, we should say, rather flirtatious) Camae. Despite its simple structure (two characters, one evening, one room) The Mountaintop promises a much bigger picture. We get to see Dr. King as a human—a great man, but a complicated one.

Martin Luther King III to Speak at Hopkins This Week

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This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Johns Hopkins’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration, and the school is taking the celebration to the next level — by inviting King’s son, Martin Luther King III, to speak.

MLK3 is himself a civil rights and community leader, and he was on hand for the school’s first commemoration of the holiday in 1982. Since then, speakers have included many different inspirational figures, including Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte, James Earl Jones, and Coretta Scott King. For this year’s celebration (which has the theme “Peace, Love and Dignity:  King’s Ultimate Challenge”), King’s son will be the keynote speaker once again.  Other speakers will include Hopkins president Ronald Daniels, Hopkins Medicine CEO Edward Miller, and Ronald Peterson, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System. Along with speeches, expect music — the Unified Voices choir will be performing as well.

The program runs from noon to 1:30 PM, and will be streamed live for those who can’t make it in person. More info here.

High School Students Know Little About Civil Rights Movement

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Only two percent of high school seniors in 2010 could answer a simple question about the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. 

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the farther away from the South — and the smaller the African-American population — the less attention paid to the civil rights movement. Sixteen states do not require instruction about the movement. In another 19, coverage is minimal. 

As the nation prepared earlier this year to dedicate a monument to Martin Luther King, Jr., the Southern Poverty Law Center undertook a comprehensive review of the civil rights movement in state curricula. Read the findings of the review at splcenter.org

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