By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
With 2013’s Dr. Martin Luther King Day holiday coinciding with President Barack Obama’s inaugural ceremonies, Monday’s celebration is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever in Brooklyn. The day will be marked with tributes, remembrances and inauguration simulcasts, and community service throughout the borough.
One not-to-be missed event is BAM's 27th annual “Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” It’s the largest celebration of Martin Luther King Day in New York City, and it starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in Fort Greene.
Presented by Borough President Marty Markowitz, BAM, and CUNY’s Medgar Evers College, this year’s tribute features a keynote address by legendary musician and humanitarian Harry Belafonte.
A highlight of this year’s festivities will be a live simulcast of the 57th presidential inauguration commencing the historic second term of President Barack Obama.
Mr. Belafonte — singer, songwriter actor and producer — was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. As one of Dr. King’s closest supporters, Belafonte financed civil rights initiatives like the Freedom Rides, supported voter registration drives, and helped to organize the March on Washington in 1963. He has raised funds for countless charities and has been a lifelong political activist.
The event also includes performances by Fort Greene/Clinton Hill’s own Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir, R&B duo Kindred the Family Soul, remarks by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Medgar Evers College President Dr. William Pollard, and BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins, and more.
Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-seated basis starting at 8am in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House lobby, 30 Lafayette Avenue (between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street). www.bam.org/talks/2013/mlk-tribute
MLK Community Service
Each year, Americans across the country come together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. Many Brooklyn residents participate in community activities like delivering meals, reading to children, or collecting food.
Jabez, a resident of East Flatbush, told the Brooklyn Eagle he would be working with a local community/ cultural arts group on Monday. “We will be entertaining some old folks for a charity in the Crown Heights community and get them involved in projects like poetry writing. We’re also helping some people recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy – painting, taking out trash.
“We want it to be a productive reflection on the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, as opposed to just taking a jolly old holiday,” Jabez said.
To find a volunteer opportunity in your neighborhood, visit www.nationalservice.gov/
Other Martin Luther King Day events in Brooklyn include:
* MLK Day at Brooklyn Children’s Museum, celebrating all weekend long with programs for every age. On Monday, enjoy the museum free of charge. 145 Brooklyn Avenue, at St. Marks Avenue.
* WNYC presents: Malcolm, Martin and Medgar: A Reunion — Sunday, Jan. 20. What would Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Medgar Evers discuss behind closed doors about the work of our first African American president, about gun violence, and about today’s civil rights movement? Co-Hosted by WNYC’s Brian Lehrer and Farai Chideya. Brooklyn Museum, Cantor Auditorium. Event is full. However, if you would like to put your name on the wait-list they will accommodate as many people as possible, subject to availability.
* “We Shall Not Be Moved: Downstate ’63” — Monday, Jan. 21 at LIU. A short film about the civil rights protests at Brooklyn’s Downstate Medical Center in the summer of 1963. Event includes presentations by former members of Brooklyn CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and participants in the civil rights protests: Jitu Weusi, Yvonne Harmon, Rioghan Kirchner and Lawrence Cumberbatch. Followed by an afternoon of service, distributing free books and reading books about the civil rights movement to children at venues in Brooklyn. Health Sciences Building, Room 107, at LIU Brooklyn, Flatbush Avenue and DeKalb Avenue. RSVP: email [email protected] or (718) 488-1014.