By Jeanne LeFlore
In honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, several events are set in McAlester.
Starting with a Commerative Service and Banquet on Friday and Saturday and a presentation of Black Voices of the Harlem Renaissance” on Monday at the McAlester Public Library.
The holiday events begin at 11 a.m. on Friday with a Commemorative Service the Mt. Triumph Baptist Church, 408 East Wyandotte.
“Living the Dream, Moving Forward” is the theme of the service and Master of Ceremonies will be Pastor Anthony D. Washington of the Mt. Triumph Baptist Church.
Music will be presented by the MLK Unity Choir under the direction of Loise Washington.
Musicians will be Kevin Priddle, Cletis Lowe Jr., Jerri Burris, the Rev. Donald Brown Sr. and Donald Brown Jr.
Special guest speaker will be the Rev. Dr. David L. Monk senior pastor at Edgewood United Methodist Church in Hartshorne.
Saturday a special Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday banquet will be held at 6 p.m. at the McAlester High School Cafeteria, 1 Buffalo Dr.
Master of Ceremonies for the banquet will be Louis Smitherman, former McAlester resident Linda Johnson Thomas will be the special guest speaker.
Jones is a masters level social worker for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and a certified sexual abuse therapist. She provides community forums to educate the public on social issues and concerns.
Music for the banquet will be presented by the MLK Jr. Choir under the direction of Roslyn Jones and Tommy Braxton will play the keyboard.
The Commerative Service and the banquet are sponsored by the Pittsburg County Holiday Association.
Both events are open to the public and tickets for the banquet are on sale now.
Advance tickets are $8 for adults or $9 at the door and for youth the advance tickets are $4 and $5 at the door.
For more information contact Newman at 918-423-6396 or Helen Turner at 918-426-0870.
On Monday at 6:30 p.m. a one-night-only performance of “Black Voices of the Harlem Renaissance” has been scheduled at McAlester Public Library to mark the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Albert H. Bostick of Oklahoma City will bring his poetry, music and spoken word program, performed before a backdrop of Black visual art, to a free performance in the Whiteacre Room.
“Black Voices” features the works of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, W.E.B. DuBois, James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, Billie Holiday, Paul Robeson, Bessie Smith, Fats Waller, Marcus Garvey, Sterling A. Brown and Duke Ellington.
“Through the use of poetry, narrative and song, the audience can catch the A-Train and follow the development of African-Americans from ‘The Lazy-laughing South,’ to the Great Migration, to the ‘Dream-Deferring North,” Bostick said.
“Laughter abounds as we meet characters through literature and hear their insight through humorous accounts and encounters as they struggle to find themselves.The audience can feel the angst of artists and activists as they fight the battle of equality and hear the beauty that grew out of the ugliness of racism.”
Bostick, listed on the Oklahoma Arts Council’s Artist-in-Residence and touring rosters for over 20 years, is director of his own Renaissance Arts organization, Basically Bostick Projects, Inc., which creates performance opportunities for African-Americans in the Oklahoma City area.
His appearance is funded by the Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma, the AEP/PSO Company, and Bill and Meta Milligan.
An alumnus of Grambling State University, Bostick hails from New Orleans, where he worked with the Free Southern and Dashiki Project theaters.
He has also worked with the Pollard Theater in Guthrie, the American Theater Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, the Oklahoma Children’s Theater and the Black Liberated Arts Center of Oklahoma City, where he served as artistic director for 15 years.
Contact Jeanne LeFlore at email@example.com.