Glastonbury MLK Celebration set for Jan. 20

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Jan. 10, 2014
The HartBeat Ensemble will perform an interactive piece about how King's letter is still relevant today. Courtesy photos. - Contributed Photo

In April of 1963, while sitting in a Birmingham, Alabama jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. penned a letter in response to a newspaper's open letter by eight white clergymen who denounced the civil rights demonstrations by the black community, calling them unwise and untimely. King's letter was written in the margins of the newspaper, smuggled out of the jail to his supporters, and published a month later in several periodicals.

King's letter was not filled with anger, but with the reasoning that injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny,” King wrote. “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

He obliquely chided the clergymen for superficial social analyses that failed to “grapple with underlying causes.” To their charge that the demonstrations were untimely, he said that to black citizens the word "wait" almost always meant "never." “We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”

The Glastonbury Martin Luther King Community Initiative chose to recognize the 50th anniversary of that letter in this year's Martin Luther King Day Celebration on Jan. 20. The creation of the letter and the effect its messages have on society to this day will all be explored.

The event will feature performances by Tony-nominated producer, playwright, actor and choreographer David Greer and HartBeat Ensemble, a Connecticut-based performance company creating theatrical presentations based on contemporary issues. 

Greer will portray King as he delivers excerpts of “the letter” in what is described as an “intimate, emotionally dynamic” portrayal.  Greer has performed the piece dozens of times over the past 20 years at school events, universities and MLK celebrations across the U.S. and as far away as Egypt. 

HartBeat – comprised of Taneisha Duggan, Cindy Martinez and Julia Rosenblatt – will explore the continued relevance of the letter for today and invite the audience to respond to the issues raised by Dr. King.

The event is free, open to the public, and will take place at 7 p.m., Jan. 20, at Smith Middle School. For more information, visit

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