Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to be Commemorated With Dinner Theatre Production, Other Events

Hamilton College will commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with a number of campus and community events in January.

The 4th annual Employee Community Service day will take place on Monday, Jan. 18, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Employees will receive work release to volunteer at sites in greater Utica.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a play by August Wilson, will be presented on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 18, 19 and 20. Monday's show is sold out. The show is directed by Mark Cryer of Hamilton’s Theatre Department and will begin at 6:30 p.m. following a 6 p.m. dinner in the Fillius Events Barn. Admission to the play is free, and the dinner cost is $10 for the public. Due to limited seating, reservations are needed. To make reservations for Tuesday or Wednesday, call 315-859-4331.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is Wilson’s first play in a 10-play cycle, each chronicling a decade in the African-American experience. Set in a Chicago recording studio in 1927, the two-act drama tells the story of a recording session with blues legend Ma Rainey, her band members, and the white producer and agent who made themselves wealthy through Rainey’s recordings. The play explores race relations between blacks and whites in 1920s America and the African-American search for identity. The title comes from the song of the same name, which is at the heart of a major conflict in the play.

Other events on Jan. 18 will include a lecture titled "The Meaning of Martin Luther King, Jr. at Hamilton and Beyond" by Assistant Professor of History Chad Williams at 4:15 p.m. in the Red Pit, Kirner-Johnson Building. A tribute to King featuring faculty reflections will begin at 6 p.m. in the Events Barn, preceding the play.

“The Power in Peace,” a concert honoring the legacy of King and featuring Eliza Moore of Montreal will be presented on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m. in the Chapel. It is free and open to the public.

The 12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Day, sponsored by Hamilton Association for Volunteering, Outreach and Charity (HAVOC), will take place on Saturday, Jan. 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hamilton student volunteers will help others in need at sites throughout greater Utica.

On Sunday, Jan. 24, at 4 p.m., a special worship service will be held in Hamilton’s Chapel with Chaplain Jeffrey McArn presiding.
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