A virtual commemoration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy will be presented on April 4th by the National Civil Rights Museum.
The presentation will mark the 52nd anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, which the museum encompasses.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic surge, the museum has retooled its original event to produce digital content and a virtual broadcast entitled, “Remember MLK: The Man. The Movement. The Moment.”
The program airs from 5 p.m to 6:30 p.m. on April 4. View it on the museum’s website, YouTube, Facebook and Livestream platforms.
The virtual commemoration will include selected segments of MLK50 and past ceremonies, with remarks from civil rights icons the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., the Rev. James Lawson and Dr. Omid Safi, Islamic Studies Duke University.
Performances include selections from the MLK50 Legacy Choir and spoken word by Ed Mabrey.
The broadcast will culminate with an excerpt of “The Mountaintop speech” and a moment of silence and reflection at 6:01 p.m. the time Dr. King was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
“We should always stop and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King on April 4, but this year it is needed more than ever as we try to navigate through this public health crisis,” said Museum President Terri Lee Freeman.
“Dr. King’s message of economic equity is so relevant. We are seeing the devastation this crisis is taking not just on the health of our communities but on the economic wellbeing of our neighbors,” Freeman said.
“We are seeing just how fragile the financial safety net is for far too many people. Celebrating King’s acceptance of humanity, but disdain of inequity and injustice, is very important in 2020,” she said.
Last Saturday (March 28), the museum began sharing digital elements to highlight the final year in the life and works of Dr. King – from his delivery of the “Beyond Vietnam” speech, to the “Mountaintop” speech hours prior to his assassination, and subsequent reactions.
Key components shared on the museum’s digital platforms will include:
Music video: A remote gathering of musical artists from various parts of the country performing one of Dr. King’s favorite songs, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.
STORYTIME – Museum educator, Dory Lerner, will read the children’s book, “Martin’s Big Words,” provide activities and answer questions for parents and children to learn more about Dr. King and his principles. Time: 10 a.m.
TIMELINE – Starting from March 28 when Dr. King marched for the sanitation workers in Memphis to April 4th when he spent his final hours at the Lorraine Motel. The timeline will illustrate the work he was doing for the “everyday heroes.” See the timeline.
FROM THE VAULT – From the museum’s Collections archive, images of never-before-seen condolence letters sent to the Lorraine Motel following King’s death will be shared in the museum’s Collections blog, “From the Vault,” and social media channels. READ the blog
RISE – A special performance of Collage Dance Collective’s “RISE,” a dance tribute to Dr. King. His “I’ve Been to th Mountaintop” speech is the backdrop for this full-length neo-classical ballet. Watch the livestream at 6:30 p.m. CDT on April 4.
Visitors to the museum’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn social channels @ncrmuseum will be able to share their stories and thoughts about Dr. King’s legacy and ideas for positive social change.
Moderated comments can also be shared during the virtual broadcast on April 4.
(For more information, visit april4th.org.)