As we head into the long weekend ahead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, there are several tributes taking place around the city in honor of the Civil Rights leader in celebration or his birthday. Here are three ways to remember the man who dreamed of a day when there would be equality for all and taught us that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
BAM’s annual tribute to MLK
BAM started its annual tribute to Dr. King in 1990. Today it is the largest event of its kind in New York City. New Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is emceeing this year’s celebration, which started yesterday with the opening of Picture the Dream, a community exhibition on display at BAMcafe created by students from the New York City Housing Authority Saratoga Village Community Center and featuring artwork inspired by King’s famous I Have a Dream speech. A keynote address by author, college professor and political activist Angela Davis is also scheduled for Jan. 20. Born in Birmingham, Ala. ahead of the Civil Rights movement, Davis emerged in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party USA and a supporter of more militant wings of the Civil Rights movement, including the Black Panthers. Her incendiary ideas and actions at the time, led to her being branded a terrorist and ending up on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Her trial in 1971 for her involvement in a court-house hostage situation was not only highly publicized, but also polarizing. Davis, who bought the firearms used in the kidnapping of a judge and three jurors, was ultimately found not guilty, but 40 years later, the events surrounding her incarceration and acquittal are being examined in the documentary Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners, which will screen for free at BAM on Jan. 20 at 1pm following her address and performances by jazz musician Jose James and the the BCCC Singers of the Brooklyn Christian Cultural Center.
Tickets to BAM’s tribute are free, on a first-come basis and available beginning at 8am on Jan. 20.
WNYC at The Apollo
The Apollo Theater is a cultural touchstone for the African-American community in New York City, and as such, the Harlem music house will play host to WNYC’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, Dreams for NYC Inspired by MLK at 3pm on Jan. 19. Public radio host Brian Lehrer and writer Farai Chideya will lead a panel discussion that uses Dr. King’s moral compass to examine current-day NYC and its impending future. They will be joined on stage by 12 panelists with prominent ties to New York’s current African-American community, including Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who represents Central Brooklyn as part of New York’s 8th Congressional District. Vernon Reid of the rock band Living Colour will also perform–could he perhaps be performing Cult of Personality?.
Tickets are free, but you must reserve yours here.
A Message of Peace at Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Keeping Dr. King’s dream alive for the next generation is the mission of Brooklyn Children Museum this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, the museum is hosting events aimed at exploring two of Dr. King’s affirmations that are at once so profound, yet simple, even a child can understand. MLK Day–Justice Everywhere will give children ages 4 and up a chance to investigate the meaning of the famous MLK quote found in the intro to this article, while Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Message of Peace is a program intended to let children ages 5 and under compare various cultures while learning about tolerance and peace through photographs, including those of Dr. King during his March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Afterwards, kids will have a chance to make a commemoration craft in honor of MLK. The museum will remain open on Monday, Jan. 20, and screen footage of the March on Washington, as well as create a poster of peace and justice, which will then be paraded throughout the museum. Celebrations will conclude at 2:30pm with an all-ages performance by the Berean Community Drumline.