Middlebury

Middlebury College celebrates the life of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 4, 2005

Esau Pritchett
MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Middlebury College will join the rest of the nation this month to  honor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a series of events that will evoke the enduring spirit of the civil rights leader.  Activities, including a concert and a prayer breakfast, will begin Friday, Jan. 14, and continue through Friday, Jan. 21.  All events are free and open to the public.

On Friday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m., "Let Freedom Sing!  A Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr." will take place.  The program will combine a dramatic oration of King's speeches by New York-based actor Esau Pritchett with choir music directed by Middlebury College Alexander Twilight Artist-In-Residence François Clemmons, who will also perform solos.  The choir, whose members are local residents as well as Middlebury College faculty, staff and students, will perform music that includes authentic American Negro spirituals popular during the civil rights movement in America.  The concert will take place in Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125).

A versatile performer, Clemmons is the founder of the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble, and the creator of the role of the friendly police officer, Officer Clemmons, the Emmy Award-winning television show, "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood."  Clemmons is currently teaching a winter term course at Middlebury titled "The History of the American Negro Spiritual and Its Influence on Western Civilization." 

Vermont audiences saw Pritchett as the title character in Lost Nation Theatre's production of "Othello," and as Tom Robinson in the Vermont Stage Company's "To Kill a Mockingbird."  He has extensive television, film and theatre credits, including an appearance in an episode of the television series "Law and Order."  

Dr. Mike Kiernan, a lifelong admirer of King and a Middlebury physician, adapted King's speeches to retrace the civil rights leader's journey from Montgomery to Memphis.  Kiernan thought the combination of Clemmons' music and King's words would be effective. "To hear King's words spoken from the pulpit, framed in the musical world from which they come?it is truly inspirational," said Kiernan.

From Friday, Jan. 14-Friday, Jan. 21, there will also be a display of books related to King in the lobby of the Middlebury College Library on Storrs Avenue between College Street (Route 125) and South Main Street (Route 30).

Francois ClemmonsFrom 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 17, the seventh annual prayer breakfast will take place in Ross Commons Dining Hall on College Street (Route 125).  The program will include student readings, an invocation from Middlebury College Chaplain Laurel Jordan, and a benediction from Middlebury College Associate Chaplain and Rabbi Ira Schiffer.  Middlebury College Professor of Political Science Eric Davis will also give a talk titled "Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Voting Rights Act of 1965: A Man of Faith Confronts America's Founding Ideals."

As part of the program, Clemmons will sing "Precious Lord, Take My Hand."  He will also direct choir music in a tribute to King.

The complementary hot breakfast will be served from 8-8:30 a.m. and the program will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the dining hall.  Because seating is limited, breakfast will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, contact Jennifer Herrera in the Middlebury College Office for Institutional Diversity at 802-443-5743.

To follow are events calendar listings.

 

Middlebury College Events in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

 

Friday, Jan. 14-Friday, Jan. 21

Book Display: Display of books related to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mon.-Thurs., 7:30 a.m.-1 a.m. 

Fri., 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m. 

Sat., 9 a.m.-11 p.m. 

Sun., 9 a.m.-1 a.m. 

Middlebury College Library Lobby, Storrs Avenue between College Street (Route 125) and South Main Street (Route 30)

 

Friday, Jan. 14

8 p.m.   Concert/Dramatic Readings: "Let Freedom Sing!  A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."  The program will combine a dramatic oration of King's speeches by New York-based actor Esau Prittchet with choir music directed by Middlebury College Alexander Twilight Artist-In-Residence François Clemmons, who will also perform solos.  The music, performed by a community choir of local residents and Middlebury College faculty, staff and students, will include authentic American Negro spirituals popular during the civil rights movement in America. Excerpts of King's speeches adapted for oration by Mike Kiernan.

Mead Chapel, Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125)

 

Monday, Jan. 17

8-9:30 a.m.  Seventh Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast:

Hot breakfast available 8-8:30 a.m.  Program takes place 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Middlebury College Professor of Political Science Eric Davis will give a talk titled "Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Voting Rights Act of 1965: A Man of Faith Confronts America's Founding Ideals."  Middlebury College Alexander Twilight Artist-In-Residence François Clemmons will direct choir music. 

Ross Commons Dining Hall, College Street (Route 125)

 

All events are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Jennifer Herrera in the Middlebury College Office for Institutional Diversity at 802-443-5743.

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