Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Event Goes Virtual for 2021, but Messages of Service and Support Remain Consistent

(Delray Beach, FL – January 22, 2021) – Every year, the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum welcomes hundreds to enjoy music, performances and presentations that honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year was no different, except more than 100 guests watched from the safety of their own homes, as speakers and performers reminded us of Dr. King’s work and vision.

On January 18, 2021, the Spady Museum hosted a virtual Dr. King Jr. program, featuring local leaders in law, education and media, as well as contributions from the next generation. Guests speakers were Deputy State Attorney Alexcia Cox; Brian Knowles, manager of the Office of African, African-American, Latino, Holocaust and Gender Studies for the School District of Palm Beach County; and Dexter Bridgeman, founder of Black Owned Media Alliance. Cox recounted some of King’s Civil Rights moments, including portions of his most noteworthy speeches. However, what remained with her was a speech he made to junior high school students 12 years before she was born, in which he asked, “what is your life’s blueprint?” Cox reiterated the question to the Zoom audience, by asking, “what is your vision? What is your design for your life and legacy?”

Knowles outlined the important role that education plays in shaping the hearts of all students, by informing them of the contributions that every culture makes in advancing society. He explained that by normalizing, understanding and valuing the perspectives of other cultures, heritages and genders, educators are upholding the principles that King lived and died for. He also reminded the audience that King, while touted for his pacifism, was a rebel and an agitator, who challenged America’s power structure by demanding equal rights, and that students need to be reminded that King’s power resides in them.

“Our responsibility is not to empower students, but to help students identify the power that God has already blessed them with,” he said. “You come from the very lineage of Dr. King. You can tap into that power.”

Bridgeman shared the importance of black media and the critical responsibility it has to preserve and protect the legacy of African and African-American people. During a time when media’s legitimacy is being threatened, Bridgeman called upon the audience to support black media, for it was the primary vehicle in which stories from the African Diaspora are told.

Rounding out the program were an impassioned speech delivered by Derron “DJ” Blake, a fourth-grade student at Northboro Elementary School and poetry award winner from the Knights of Pythagoras, and a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” performed by violinist Cameren Anai Williams from Julliard School.

Board Member Clarence Vaughn paid homage to museum founders, Vera Farrington, the late Spencer Pompey and others, who organized 20 years ago to establish the museum and the West Settlers’ Historical District in Delray Beach. The museum was founded in July 2001, and this year, a series of events will be held to commemorate its 20th anniversary, including a campaign to raise $100,000 for its continuation.

2021 event sponsors included the City of Delray Beach, Delray Beach Redevelopment Agency, State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Palm Beach County, Tourist Development Council, and Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

ABOUT THE SPADY CULTURAL HERITAGE MUSEUM:

Located at 170 NW Fifth Avenue in Delray Beach Florida, the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum is a black history museum and cultural center dedicated to sharing the cultural contributions of people of African descent. In addition to rotating exhibits, the museum hosts, youth programming, exhibit tours, lectures and panel discussions and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Juneteenth and Kwanzaa celebrations. Exhibit Hours are 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Thursday – Saturday; all other times, by appointment only. Admission: $10; Members are free. Indoors: Masks and social distancing are required. For more information, call 561.279.8883, email spadymuseum@gmail.com or visit www.spadymuseum.com.

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