Drucker Institute co-sponsors event honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., through drama, poetry and music

The Drucker Institute is co-sponsoring a special Claremont Graduate University event, “A Time to Create: A Celebration of MLK through Drama, Poetry and Music,” at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 4, at Garrison Theater.

The celebration, which is also co-sponsored by CGU’s Transdisciplinary Studies Program, is free and open to the general public.

The program-which is set to take place exactly 40 years after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee-will honor the late civil rights leader’s legacy through a series of performances by actors, poets and singers. The name of the event is derived from King’s observation that “we must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

“Being part of a program honoring Dr. King makes a lot of sense,” said Rick Wartzman, director of the Drucker Institute. “Like King, Drucker believed, above all, in the sanctity of freedom. He was a powerful voice against tyranny. And, in holding that management was really a ‘liberal art,’ he taught that all institutions of society need to be infused with strong humanistic values.”

The event will mark the centerpiece of a graduate course on King’s legacy, and it is meant to serve as a challenge to audience members to consider how King would view the world now. “We really want to challenge folks to think about Dr. King as peaceful revolutionary,” said Tyler Reeb, a CGU student who led a student-faculty initiative to assemble the April 4 program and the related graduate course. “He gave us a new vision for human rights around the globe while reminding us to also take care of what’s happening right in our own backyards.”

The program will include:

  • Passages Of Martin Luther King, a one-act play based on MLK’s letters and papers. This unusually intimate look at King’s life was written by Clayborne Carson, a preeminent King scholar from Stanford University who in 1985 was chosen by Coretta Scott King to edit and publish King’s papers. It stars Carson; Aldo Billingslea, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Santa Clara University; and gospel singer September Penn.
  • A jazz/poetry performance by Kamau Daaood, a spoken-word pioneer whose workspans spiritual expression, jazz and the avant-garde. Daaood has performed for more than three decades with the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra and has shared the stage with notables such as Gil Scott Heron and Amiri Baraka. Along with jazz great Billy Higgins, he is the co-founder of the World Stage in Leimert Park.
  • A gospel performance led by Contrella Patrick Henry, a Los Angeles-based performer and independent producer of theatrical productions for more than 15 years.