Numerous events in the area honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Fri, 01/16/2009 - 9:49am
By: The Citizen

Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday was yesterday, there are a number of events in the coming days to celebrate his life.

The 5th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Holiday Parade in Fayette County will take place tomorrow morning.

The Fayette County Branch of the NAACP would like to invite all community, civic, church, and other sponsored organizations to participate in the parade.

The parade will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17 and conclude with a short program at the Fayette County High School gym, located on Tiger Way in Fayetteville. Several local high school bands have been invited to participate in the parade. All groups interested in participating in the parade or interested in obtaining more information on this event should call 770-460-9934.

Youth groups, churches, dance schools, girl & boy scouts and local businesses will circle the block as a sign of unity to celebrate this important day. For more information contact Rev. Edward J. Johnson, Jr. at 770-460-6446.

The seventh annual Freedom Run 10K and 5K road races will be held at Clayton State University on Monday, Jan. 19 in conjunction with the University’s annual celebration of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Both races are sponsored by the Southlake Kiwanis Club and Clayton State University.

The races will begin at 9 a.m. on Clayton State Boulevard on the Clayton State campus in Morrow, with race day registration starting at 7:30 a.m. in the University’s Athletics & Fitness Center. Both similar loop courses (the 10K is two loops, the 5K one loop) will run through the rolling neighborhoods of Lake City and Morrow, finishing back in front of the Clayton State Athletics & Fitness Center.

 Race day registration will be $20. Race amenities include age group awards in eight categories (ages 14-under to 70-over) and a post-race breakfast featuring Waffle House waffles.

 For further information, or to register, click here, or call Clayton State Track and Cross Country Coach and Race Director Mike Mead at (678) 466-4679.

On Wednesday, Jan. 21, NARA will show “At the River I Stand,” the award-winning documentary which reconstructs the two eventful months in Memphis in 1968 leading to King’s tragic death. “At the River I Stand” will be shown at the NARA Southeast Region Archives, 5780 Jonesboro Rd., Morrow, from 12-1 p.m. This special showing, which includes King’s “Mountaintop” speech, is free and open to the public.

MLK Day at Clayton State will be Thursday, Jan. 22. The day will start with the MLK Student Dialog and Panel Discussion from 2:10- 3:25 p.m. in room 132 of the University’s Arts and Sciences Building. Clayton State alumnus, Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies graduate student and NARA staff member Shane Bell will moderate the discussion among Clayton State students and a panel of four on the theme of the event, “Status of the Dream… Where Are We Now?” The panel will consist of retired Clayton State History professors Dr. Bradley Rice and Dr. Eugene Hatfield, former CNN journalist James Kemp, and Clayton State student Ciji Fox.

 Later that afternoon, Clayton State students, faculty and staff will participate in the University’s first MLK Rally and March. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. on the University Quad, the Campus Life/Alpha Phi Alpha-sponsored march will proceed to Spivey Hall for the MLK keynote address.

 Dr. John Eaves, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and formerly the assistant dean of students at Clayton State, will give the keynote address for the University’s 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr., Commemorative Event in Spivey Hall on Thursday, Jan. 22. Eaves’ 7:30 p.m. address in Spivey Hall will be preceded by a reception in the lobby of Spivey Hall that will begin at 6:30 p.m.

In observance of Martin Luther King Day, Theatrical Outfit will present two invitation-only staged readings of Douglas Tappin’s new opera “King: The Story of a Preacher from Atlanta,” at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16, and at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17. In addition, a free, open-to-the-public “In-Concert” showcase, featuring excerpts from the work, will be performed at Ebenezer Baptist Church at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 18. All three performances will offer an insider’s view into the musical-dramatic process. A rare and coveted license graciously granted by Intellectual Properties Management, the exclusive licensor of the King Estate, has hugely facilitated Tappin’s development of “King: The Story of A Preacher from Atlanta,” with the invaluable support of Atlanta’s Mayor Shirley Franklin, Director of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs Camille R. Love, Theatrical Outfit and Ebenezer Baptist Church. The January performances will provide opportunities for further development and crafting of the work.

Composed as a piece in a hybrid genre, which blends the operatic form with gospel, blues and other contemporary musical influences, King will be performed by a cast of twenty-one (adults and children), accompanied by five musicians on keyboard, bass, electric and acoustic guitar, and drums. Arietha Lockhart will be featured in the role of Coretta Scott King, with Timothy Miller in the role of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Theatrical Outfit’s Tom Key, who also performs in King as the character Rev. Allen, and Camille Love will narrate the Sunday “In-Concert” performance of musical excerpts from King at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Freddie Hendricks directs.

“I’ve tried to combine historic and personal elements of Dr. King’s extraordinary life and legacy with individual stories gleaned from interviews with people whose lives he touched during the tempestuous years of the Civil Rights Movement between 1955 and 1968 and also from the broader context of the segregated South from about 1936,” said Douglas Tappin, librettist, lyricist, and composer of “King,” says of the piece, which he began writing in 2006. “I was particularly captivated by Dr. King’s statement that ‘man is neither villain nor hero – he is rather both villain and hero,’ and I focused on articulating that conflict in the opera’s characters.”

Born and educated in the U.K., Atlanta-based Tappin is a largely self-taught musician and former entertainment attorney, who in 2004, relinquished his career and home to move with his wife and two children to the United States and devote his energies to writing and composing. In addition to “King,” he has composed four other musical-dramatic works, including Deliverer, based on the Biblical account of Moses and the Israelites, which was performed at the Cobb Civic Center’s Anderson Theater in both 2005 and 2007.

For more information about “King: The Story of a Preacher from Atlanta,” contact Theatrical Outfit at 678-528-1500.

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