2021 day of celebration to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that, in partnership with Boston University, the City of Boston will present "A Day of Celebration in Honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr" on Monday, January 18, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. The event was livestreamed on both Boston.gov and BU.edu, as well as on the City of Boston’s cable network (Xfinity: channel 24, RCN: channel 13, and Fios: channel 962). You can view a recording of the event below:
"Commemorating the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is pivotal to remembering the long history of racial injustice in our country, especially as we strive to achieve equity for all," said Mayor Walsh. “Thank you to Boston University and the New England Conservatory for your partnership in celebrating Dr. King’s life and for adapting our annual event to allow us to safely honor this day. I’m proud to invite all Bostonians to mark this important day with us."
This year, the City of Boston and Boston University welcome New England Conservatory as a partner in its celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King. This year’s program will spotlight Coretta Scott King, who graduated from New England Conservatory in 1954, and it will feature the works of James Baldwin, who wrote of the resistance movements, dissent and humanity of young people. The event will feature remarks from Mayor Martin J. Walsh, BU President Robert A. Brown and Karen Holmes Ward, and performances by the New England Conservatory. The event culminates with featured speakers Eddie S. Glaude, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University and Ibram X. Kendi, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and Director and Founder of the BU Center for Antiracist Research.
“On Monday we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and honor his sacrifice. At Boston University we are mindful that as we emerge from COVID—which has affected African-American and Hispanic members of our communities far more than others—we will not, and should not, revert to the old normal,” said Boston University President Robert A. Brown. “We must aim to establish new and better conditions and protections for everyone and fight against both prejudice and complacency.”
"We count it a great privilege to call Coretta Scott King an alumna of NEC, and are thrilled to join Boston University and the City of Boston in honouring the profound work and contributions of Dr. and Mrs. King,” said NEC President Andrea Kalyn. “As individuals and as a couple, the Kings lived their commitment to the principles of freedom, equity, and justice, and their belief in the very concept of humanity.”
In previous years, leaders such as U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley, Beverly Morgan-Welch, Sonia Sanchez, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, Ernest Green of the Little Rock Nine, Judy Richardson of Eyes on the Prize, and civil rights activist and filmmaker Topper Carew served as keynote speakers. Governor Deval Patrick, Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, Boston Poet Laureates Sam Cornish and Danielle Legros Georges, former Orthopaedic Surgeon-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital Dr. Augustus White, and WGBH Radio host Eric Jackson are among those who have served as readers in previous years.