Students and Faculty to Present at Martin Luther King FAL

February 24, 2014

Newberry College will present a Fine Arts and Lectures (FAL) event on Wednesday, February 26, entitled “Speaking the Dream: Dramatic Presentations from the Life and Words of Dr. Martin Luther King.”  The performance will be in the Wiles Chapel Theatre at 7:00 p.m.

Martin Luther King is mainly known for his “I Have a Dream” speech, but the goal of this FAL is to provide a broader and more complex picture of this historical figure. Even though this speech was very important, it was only one episode of a thirteen year span beginning when he arose as the leader of the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, and ending with his death in Memphis in 1968. This FAL presentation will expand the scope of what we know about King and the movement he led; King’s words at different points in his history show how demanding and how much effort it was put into the leadership of the movement. What it is expected with this performance is that the audience leaves the event with a greater understanding and appreciation for Dr. King’s life and work.

The performance is the creation of Dr. Peggy Winder, Director of Diversity Education, Mr. Marshall Maddy, Director of the Langford Communications Center, and Dr. Joe McDonald, Director of the Values Based Learning Program. The director of the production is Ms. Amanda McSwine, AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer with technical advice from Professor Patrick Gagliano, Chair of the Theatre, Visual Arts, and Communications Department.

Dr. Winder states the importance of listening to Dr. King’s words today: “As we celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy, we are still dealing with issues of race relations here in the 21st century. We hope that students (and all others) take time to reflect and look around and see that although progress has been made we still have a long way to go in achieving the DREAM of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

The FAL consists on the recreation of three scenes from Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement, starting with his first civil rights speech at Holt St. Church in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, as the new leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This speech will be delivered by Mr. Chris Green, a Newberry College student. The second setting is a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 where Dr. King wrote a letter to those who were not supportive of his efforts to desegregate public facilities; the letter will be read by Newberry College’s Professor John Lesaine. The third and final scene consists of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at Lincoln Memorial in 1963, delivered by Dr. Jimmy Montgomery, also a Newberry College professor. The music accompanying the presentations will be provided by the Metoka Galeda Gospel Choir.

Dr. McDonald explains his interest from the standpoint of his childhood in segregated Atlanta, the city where Dr. King grew up.   He says, “The Civil Rights Movement was a message to me and to all of us that racial equality is a moral issue.  The Movement asked the question “How, in a nation founded on the principle that “all are created equal,” could we deny that equality for tens of millions of people?”

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