Sure, we all take the time to remember Martin Luther King, Jr. this time this year on the anniversary of his birthday. Though few of us have as vivid a memory of the man as Jimmy Hayes does.
“We got arrested at one of the sit-ins, he told us not to get angry if someone throws something at us or insults us,” recalled Hayes, a Flatbush-based singer who was arrested along with King at a civil rights march in Atlanta. “Meeting him was amazing, it was really an honor. That day is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Hayes will certainly recall that day when he performs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Jan. 17 with his a capella group The Persuasions as part of the Fort Greene institution’s annual King Day celebration.
The legendary group formed 50 years ago in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and its performance will include some songs that go back that far, plus the obligatory rendition of the tune, “I Have a Dream.”
“This is an event the Brooklyn community believes in, and we need to continue and spread his words,” said Hayes. “It seems today young people aren’t familiar with him as much as they should be. This event will help them learn who he is and what he stood for.”
Joining The Persuasions will be the Reverend Timothy Wright Memorial Choir of the Grace Tabernacle Christian Center, award-winning novelist Walter Mosley, and dozens of local pols, some of whom carry through King’s lasting legacy.
Institutions across the borough will also honor Dr. King, with the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights hosting a weekend birthday bash from Jan. 15-17 featuring storytelling and dancing; and Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts in Flatbush throwing a free community concert complete with gospel singers on Jan. 17.
Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], Jan. 17 at 10:30 am. Free. For info, visit www.bam.org; “Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend Birthday Bash” at Brooklyn Children’s Museum [145 Brooklyn Ave. at St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights, (718) 735-4400], Jan. 15-17 from 10 am-5 pm. For info, visit www.brooklynkids.org; “MLK Celebration” at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts [2900 Campus Rd. at Hillel Place in Flatbush, (718) 951-4500], Jan. 17 at 6 pm. Free. For info, visit www.brooklyncenter.com.