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City Commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. with Multi-faceted Tribute

January 11, 2022

REVERE, MA- Today, Mayor Brian M. Arrigo announced Revere will observe Martin Luther King Day with “A Tribute To Martin Luther King Jr.”, a multi-faceted presentation culminating from a collaboration between Revere Public Schools and the City’s Human Rights Commission that will feature music, discussion, and dynamic performance.

 “The work of our Human Rights Commission is rooted in celebrating and advancing the strength of our city’s diversity,” said Mayor Arrigo. “Through this coordinated city-wide effort we can use Martin Luther King’s legacy as an opportunity to lift the spirit of humanity across our city as we recognize the power of our differences in making progress for the future.”

The city-wide tribute will be streamed on RevereTV and online through YouTube and Facebook -  Monday, January 17 at 6:00 pm. The program theme highlights Martin Luther King’s legacy and extraordinary contributions to the civil rights movement and the advancement of social justice and human rights.

Revere Public Schools students representing the elementary, middle, and high school levels will participate. Members of the Revere High School Drama Club will recite two eminent addresses delivered nearly sixty years apart that illustrate the nation’s enduring struggle toward civil rights and equality: Martin Luther King’s immortal “I Have A Dream” speech delivered in Washington D.C. in 1963, and “The Hill We Climb,” the stirring poem recited at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration by Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman.

Members of the Revere High School Equity Advisory Board will engage in a panel discussion focusing on the District’s equity work and how they are influenced by Dr. King’s history. The program will also include students from the Rumney Marsh Academy Music Ensemble performing the National Anthem, and fourth-graders from the Hill School will sing “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.

Mayor Arrigo praised the organizers for their nimble revision of the planned presentation as the City endures a surge in Covid-19 cases. “It’s unfortunate that the HRC and the School Department are prevented from a live presentation of this important event that honors a federal holiday,” he said. “But we are all learning to cope when Covid creates an unplanned obstacle. That the HRC and School Department could quickly pivot, with RevereTV’s cooperation, is a tribute to their determination to make sure the City observes Martin Luther King Day in a meaningful way.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first observed as a federal holiday in the United States in 1986. It falls annually on the third Monday of January, the day nearest King’s January 15th birthday. It was not until 2000, however, that the holiday was recognized in all 50 states.

King is renowned for his leadership during the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. A Baptist Minister, he preached non-violence and civil disobedience as the most powerful tools for racial progress. He was instrumental in advocating for changes in American law that advanced the right to vote, desegregation, and basic civil rights that had been long denied for black people. His efforts inspired the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

His soaring oratory and inspired vision were most eloquently expressed in the famous “I Have a Dream” speech he delivered at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial during the March On Washington that he catalyzed in 1963. The following year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his fight against racial inequality.

Dr. King had local ties, living in Boston while he pursued a Doctorate degree in Systematic Theology from Boston University, which was awarded in 1955. During his time in Boston he also studied at Harvard and served as a guest minister at various local churches. It was also during his time in Boston that he met Coretta Scott, an opera student at the New England Conservatory of Music. The couple was married in 1953 in her hometown of Heilberger, Alabama. Coretta Scott King continued her husband’s legacy following his death in 1968 until she died in 2006.

Dr. King returned to Boston in 1965 and addressed a joint legislative session at the Massachusetts State House on April 22. The following day, he led a march of more than 20,000 persons from the South End to Boston Common, holding a rally where he addressed the crowd, “Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy. Now is the time to make brotherhood a reality. Now is the time.”

In October this year, a monument honoring Martin and Coretta King and their undying quest for racial justice is planned to be unveiled at the site in Boston Common of that 1965 rally.

Dr. King was assassinated April 4, 1968 at the age of 39 in Memphis, Tennessee on the eve of a rally to support a strike among sanitation workers. King frequently had been the target of death threats, but none ever deterred him from his aspirations. Just a day before his death, Dr. King gave his last speech in which he said: “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop…And He’s allowed me to go up to that mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

The message Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, and the vision of racial justice and harmony he nurtured, live on today in the United States and throughout the word.  “Darkness,” he said at the Washington National Cathedral in 1968, “cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

 

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Brian M. Arrigo
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