The Apollo and WNYC Announce the 13th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration

The Apollo and WNYC Announce the
13th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration
“Unsung Champions of Civil Rights from MLK to Today”

Presented as Part of Apollo’s Uptown Hall Series

With WQXR’s TERRANCE McKNIGHT as Master of Ceremonies

Guests Include BISHOP MICHAEL CURRY, Presiding Leader of the Episcopal Church,
President of the NAACP NY State Conference DR. HAZEL DUKES,
President & CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute ANDREA TAYLOR,
Acclaimed New York Times Photographer CHESTER HIGGINS, JR., and
KAI WRIGHT, Host of WNYC’s Caught and The United States of Anxiety Podcasts

Sunday, January 20, 2019
3PM – 5PM
Free and Open to the Public

(New York, NY – December 6, 2018) – On Sunday, January 20 at 3pm, WNYC and the Apollo Theater will present WNYC’s 13th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration, “Unsung Champions of Civil Right from MLK to Today, as part of the Apollo’s Uptown Hall series.

For this year’s focus, WNYC’s Peabody Award-winning host Brian Lehrer and All Things Considered host Jami Floyd will lead an event paying homage to the unheralded heroes who paved the way for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s as well as contemporary social justice activists. Through a lively mix of one-on-one interviews and panels, “Unsung Champions of Civil Rights from MLK to Today” will explore the contributions of individuals such as human rights activist Ella Baker; civil rights strategist Bayard Rustin; and Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party who was assassinated in a raid conducted by the Chicago Police Department in 1969.

Featured guests include:

  • Bishop Michael Curry, presiding leader of the Episcopal Church
  • Dr. Hazel Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference
  • Janet Dewart Bell, social justice activist and author
  • Aldon Morris, author and Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University
  • Kai Wright, host of WNYC’s Caught and The United States of Anxiety podcasts

In addition, the event will include “Foot Soldier,” a photo exhibition and discussion with acclaimed New York Times photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. and Andrea Taylor, President & CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and feature special performances by Freedom Singer Rutha Harris and members of Urban Word NYC – a youth literacy arts organization. WQXR’s Terrance McKnight will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

“Each year we look forward to partnering with WNYC to recognize the contributions that Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement have made to our lives. As the Apollo continues on its ‘Say it Loud’ theme and we look for ways to celebrate the people who took bold stances, we felt it was important to champion even more heroes on whose shoulders we stand,” said Jonelle Procope, President and CEO, Apollo Theater.

“We’re excited to partner once again with the legendary Apollo Theater to honor the moral fortitude of Dr. King on his holiday weekend,” said Brian Lehrer. “And as we shine a spotlight on the unsung men and women of the past, we also look forward to creating a platform for modern-day changemakers in real time.”

“We live in a culture in which Dr. King’s message is often relegated to soundbites,” said Jami Floyd. “But Dr. King was more than a few quotes and the Civil Rights Movement included more than just bold-faced names. This event will present a more nuanced look into his life’s work and will introduce and reintroduce those who made civil rights more than a slogan, but a movement.”

Apollo Uptown Hall: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are mandatory at: Tickets will be available in January 2019.

The event presented in collaboration with the March on Washington Film Festival.


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 special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo, the world premiere theatrical reading of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s National Book Award-winning Between the World and Me, 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella, the annual Africa Now! Festival, and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved. The Apollo is a performing arts presenting organization that also produces 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; global festivals including 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 Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Billie Holiday, James Brown, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Dave Chappelle, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Sarah Vaughan, Gladys Knight, and Luther Vandross; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. For more information visit


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, the WNYC app and through major digital radio services, all made possible through the generous support of our members, donors and sponsors.