Brandeis celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.

An evening of performances, reflections on King's legacy

Photo/Ashley McCabe

The Brandeis community came together Jan. 18 to celebrate the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. with dance performances, reflections on King's legacy, readings of some of his speeches, and a screening of a documentary surrounding often overlooked events in St. Augustine, Fla. leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"(King) would have been 87 years old this year, and how things have changed, yet some things remain to be changed. But we push on, don't we Brandeis?" Dean of Students Jamele Adams said in opening remarks. "Indeed we do. We push on because we believe in love."

Inspired by King’s words, actions and commitment to civil justice, students, faculty and staff filled the Shapiro Campus Center auditorium for the university's 11th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial co-sponsored by the Dean of Students Office and Martin Luther King Jr. & Friends Club.

The evening featured several student performances. Student Union President Nyah Macklin sang the black national anthem. The KAOS Kids and Platinum performed dance routines. 

Remarks were provided by Marcelo Brociner '18, Makalani Mack '16—who recited speeches by Malcolm X to build a bridge between the two icons—and Amaris Brown '16, Queen White '16 and Brontë Velez '16, who spoke of the unsung women and queer people in the civil rights movement. Tremaine Smith '18 embodied King while he read a speech. The event also featured a performance by professional tap dancer Sean Fielder, along with students from the Boston Tap Company.

To cap the evening, there was a screening of Clennon L. King’s documentary "Passage at St. Augustine," which delved into the bitter fight for civil rights in segregated St. Augustine in the days leading up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Prior to the screening, the filmmaker, who is not related to Martin Luther King, Jr., described his film as "basically about the Black Lives Matter movement of 1964."

The film featured in-depth interviews with St. Augustine residents and officials—both black and white—who lived through and participated in the events in the deeply segregated small coastal city named for an African saint and touted as "America's Oldest City," which became a battleground in the Civil Rights Movement. Along with the city's residents, the documentary featured Oval Office calls made by Lyndon B. Johnson, interviews with civil rights activists who descended on the city, journalists who covered the events there, and the late Leon Jick, who was a rabbi and professor of American Jewish Studies at Brandeis.

The celebration and screening concluded a full day of remembering and honoring King on the Brandeis campus. Earlier, the Waltham Group and the Brandeis Multifaith Chaplaincy teamed up with Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries for a day of interfaith service, during which Brandeis students and community members gathered in the Usdan Student Center and helped package more than 17,000 meals for the homeless to be distributed at area shelters. 

“This day was a powerful demonstration of people of all faiths and walks of life coming together, being inspired by faith and conscience to make the world a better place,” said Rev. Matt Carriker, Brandeis’ Protestant chaplain and pastor at Agape Spiritual Community in Waltham. “By engaging in community service, and asking how we can truly embody the vision of ‘living the beloved community,’ we are ‘building the world house’ that Dr. King spoke of.” 

Categories: Alumni, Humanities and Social Sciences, Student Life

Return to the BrandeisNOW homepage