NEW BRITAIN – In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., several community groups will host events throughout the weekend to celebrate the life and legacy of the civil rights leader.
The New Britain Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and Mayor Erin Stewart will host an event honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Saturday, Jan. 22 at 11 a.m. The event will take place at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Stanley St. There will be prayer, music, and poetry at the event, which is free and open to the public.
The New Britain Museum of American Art will celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a variety of events and community projects. Residents can enjoy free admission to the NBMAA on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The NBMAA’s Community Advisory Group will host free nightly Zoom events that will focus on King’s message of love through special speakers, community chats, story times, performances and crowd-sourced projects.
In the Stanley Black & Decker Maker Space, visitors can see MLK-inspired art activity with an interactive “Thought Wall” where they can make contributions. A virtual slideshow on the museum’s website showcases recordings from last year’s virtual celebration and a slideshow of the community art inspired by King.
The Black Ministerial Alliance of New Britain will have a MLK Worship Service on Sunday hosted by Second Baptist Church, located at 55 Chapman Street. The event will honor the work of the King and the Civil Rights Movement. Pastor of St. James Missionary Baptist Church Dr. John Walker will be the guest preacher. The theme for the event will be “Never Forget.”
The Connecticut Dance Alliance will present a Zoom panel, “Martin Luther King Day of Dance,” on Monday from noon until 1 p.m. The panel discussion will feature guests Mellissa Craig, Thulani Davis, Stephen Hankey, Christine Kershaw and Peter “P-Boogie” Reynolds. Guests can register for the event on the group's website.
The Connecticut Choral Artists (CONCORA) will host a “Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert: Words & Music” from the Harlem Renaissance Saturday, Jan. 22 at 4 p.m. at South Church, located at 90 Main St. CONCORA is a professional choral group of more than 40 singers.
The program will include music inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, from 1920 to early 1930s, to celebrate African-American music, literature and culture. The group will perform songs based on poet and songwriter Langston Hughes and composer/musician Margaret Bonds, two of the most prominent Black artists of the period. Bonds dedicated the work in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and created arrangements for many spirituals including “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”
The concert will be emceed by Lucy Hurston, retired professor of sociology from Manchester Technical Community College and guests include niece of Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston, author of several books including “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Music selections include several African-American styles such as jazz, gospel, spirituals and calypso. There will be a post-show discussion with the artist and special guests after the concert.
Tickets can only be purchased on the website at concora.org and will not be available for sale at the door. Doors will open 45 minutes prior to the performance. The CONCORA will require proof of vaccination and ID for audience members at South Church.