Friday, January 16, 2009

A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For more than a decade, the Children’s Museum has presented special programming to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, for the fifth time, the program includes performances of “M.L.K.: Amazing Grace” – a compelling portrayal of the Civil Rights Movement through songs and stories – by actors and storytellers Rochel Coleman and Valerie Tutson. The performance dramatically and memorably shares the efforts of famous folks and ordinary Americans who changed the world.

The action will continue in the Story Center, where families can browse books and see images documenting the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other Civil Rights activists. They'll also have the option to participate in an anti-discrimination activity that will lead them to encounter “red only” and “green only” labels throughout the Museum – on lunchroom tables, bathroom doors, water fountains and more. This is a provocative activity that often leads to cries of "It's not fair!" and encourages thoughtful conversations between parents and kids. Staff will be on hand to talk to families about the experience and welcome them respond to the question, “What are your hopes and dreams for America?”

This year, the day before an historic inauguration, the program will probably prompt adult visitors to reflect on just how much has changed in their own lifetimes, and during their parents’ lives. Executive Director Janice O'Donnell shared the following:

"This year's MLK Day celebration is especially significant. Many of us who remember the Civil Rights movement of the 60s rejoice that America has elected its first President of African descent. While we marvel that race relations in our country have come so far in our lifetimes, we also believe that our children need to understand the struggle that led to this day, and to understand that racism is still something we must confront and work to eradicate. There have been great gains and there is more to be done. And, like the progress made by the civil rights movement, President Obama's election was made possible by the sacrifice and dedication of ordinary Americans, of all races and ethnicities."

Don't miss this powerful, provocative celebration of progress and possibility on Monday, January 19 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Performances of "M.L.K.: Amazing Grace" start at 11:30 AM, 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM (space is limited).

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