WestConn celebrates legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

DANBURY, CONN. — The public is invited to join in as Western Connecticut State University celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

Featured at the celebration will be actor, writer and activist Ruby Dee, and a staging of “The People of Clarendon County,” a short play by Ossie Davis, Dee’s late husband. The 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration will be free and open to the public. It will be held in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury, and is also sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, The News-Times, Danbury Hospital, the Greater Danbury NAACP, the Housatonic Valley Coalition Against Substance Abuse, Connecticut Light & Power and the Arnhold Foundation.

“Dr. King’s work and dedication were, without question, the core of equal rights and opportunities that all people enjoy today,” said WestConn’s Director of Multicultural Affairs and Affirmative Action Dr. Bryan Samuel. “His work and leadership touched a nation. Dr. King imparted to us important lessons, for instance, that violence couldn’t be met with violence. It was for all those things that King stood for that we decided to present ‘The People of Clarendon County.’ It’s educational and entertaining and provides meaningful insight into the issue of racism.”

“The People of Clarendon County” centers on African-American parents in 1950s South Carolina who fight for racial equality in the school system by legally challenging segregation. Davis wrote the play in celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision to outlaw school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education.

Dee and her husband both were recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Screen Actors Guild. Davis, an award-winning actor, director and producer, was also a civil rights activist who worked closely with King. Davis and Dee were involved in organizing the 1963 civil rights March on Washington, and Davis spoke at King’s funeral.

For more information, call (203) 837-8278.

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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