WNYC & The Apollo Theater Announce “50 Years After MLK: A Dream Deferred”

WNYC & The Apollo Theater Announce “50 Years After MLK: A Dream Deferred”

The Apollo and WNYC are Partnering for the 5th Year to Present WNYC’s 12th Annual
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Presented as Part of Apollo’s Uptown Hall Series

With WQXR’s TERRANCE McKNIGHT as Master of Ceremonies

Guests Include Women’s March Co-Founder LINDA SARSOUR,
Black Lives Matter Co-Founder PATRISSE CULLORS,
and Civil Rights Leader and Former Advisor to Dr. King DR. CLARENCE JONES

Sunday, January 14, 2018
Free and Open to the Public

(New York, NY – December 13, 2017) – On Sunday, January 14 at 3pm, WNYC and the Apollo Theater are partnering for the fifth year to present WNYC’s 12th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration, “50 Years After MLK: A Dream Deferred,as part of the Apollo’s Uptown Hall series.

WNYC’s Peabody Award-winning host Brian Lehrer and local All Things Considered host Jami Floyd will moderate an afternoon of meaningful conversations addressing Dr. King’s legacy and its impact on modern social justice movements.

Through a lively mix of one-on-one interviews and panels featuring notable guests – including civil rights leader and former attorney and advisor to Dr. King, Dr. Clarence Jones, and prominent female activists such as Women’s March Co-Founder Linda Sarsour, Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors, and scholar and 2008 Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Rosa Clemente – “50 Years After MLK: A Dream Deferred” will explore the progress that has been made in the half-century since Dr. King’s untimely death. In addition, panelists will discuss the evolution and persistence of issues he fought to eliminate, from racial and wage inequality to housing discrimination to police brutality, and will broach the question of what Dr. King’s vision and leadership mean in this time of moral and ethical ambiguity—in effect, what happens to his dream deferred?

The event will also feature a series of commanding, sermonic interstitials that speak to Dr. King’s work bridging activism and spirituality, and conclude with a rousing performance by the two-time Emmy Award-winning ensemble Vy Higginsen’s Gospel For Teens – a renowned group of teenagers who study and sing the art of gospel music in Harlem.

Other guests will include:

  • Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and MLK biographer
  • Jeanne Theoharis, Scholar and Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College
  • Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Activist and spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah
  • Pandit Dasa – Author, Mindful Leadership and Wellbeing expert, and former practicing monk
  • Minister Kristen John Foy – Minister, President of the Brooklyn Chapter of the National Action Network


WQXR’s Terrance McKnight will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

“We’re thrilled to partner once again with the Apollo Theater to celebrate Dr. King’s life and relevance in such an important anniversary year and at such a crucial moment for our country,” said Brian Lehrer. “It’s a great opportunity to bring the important conversations we convene on air into the community in person.” 

“Fifty years after Dr. King's assassination, I can think of no better place than Harlem and the Apollo to reflect on his work and mission,” said Jami Floyd. “Issues of race, justice and the need for unity are front and center again, in our country.  My hope is that our conversation will open the door to reconciliation, as we embark on the next 50 years – together.”

“Since its inception, the Apollo Theater has served as a ‘town hall’ for local residents as well as people from all across New York City and as an agent of change for its community,” said Jonelle Procope, President & CEO of the Apollo Theater. “The Apollo is also a kind of organic gathering place for people at historic moments in African-American culture, as when thousands of people flocked to the Theater when Michael Jackson and James Brown passed away. Apollo Uptown Hall is a natural extension of that role, and so we are extremely proud to partner with WNYC again this year for their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration particularly as this will mark 50 years since Dr. King’s assassination. It is now more important than ever to address social justice issues that continue to plague our country.”

50 Years After MLK: A Dream Deferred” is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are mandatory at: apollotheater.org/event/apollo-uptown-hall-50-years-after-mlk/


About Apollo Theater

The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.

With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella blockbuster concert, the annual Africa Now! Festival, and the recent New York premiere of the opera Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD. The Apollo is also a performing arts presenting organization, producing festivals and large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens, including global festivals such as the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention, international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and Special Projects, multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms, and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben-Ari, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy.

About WNYC

With an urban vibrancy and a global perspective, WNYC is New York’s public radio station, broadcasting and streaming award-winning journalism, groundbreaking audio programming and essential talk radio to the city and beyond. WNYC is a leading member station of NPR and also broadcasts programs from the BBC World Service, along with a roster of WNYC-produced local programs that champion the stories and spirit of New York City and the surrounding region. From its state-of-the-art studios, WNYC is reshaping audio for a new generation of listeners, producing some of the most-loved nationally-syndicated public radio programs including Radiolab, On the Media, The Takeaway and Snap Judgment. WNYC broadcasts on 93.9 FM and AM 820 to listeners in New York and the tri-state area, and is available to audiences everywhere at WNYC.org, the WNYC app and through major digital radio services, all made possible through the generous support of our members, donors and sponsors.