For Immediate Release: January 20, 2017

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders presents the 5th Annual Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award

Union County celebrates Black History Month with a free performance honoring famed Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, February 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway.

Sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs under the Department of Parks and Recreation, “A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood: A Musical Journey in the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.” highlights how music influenced and inspired the work of Dr. King.

“Each February, Americans recognize and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of African-Americans to our nation’s history,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “The Freeholder Board is proud to support events that illustrate the truths of the history we all share.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up listening to and singing church songs, and saw gospel and folk music as natural tools to further the civil rights movement.

Hosted by Terrance McKnight, “A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood: A Musical Journey in the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.” is a live adaptation of McKnight’s radio documentary, which was produced for WQXR, New York Public Radio.  In this one-hour presentation, Terrance McKnight interweaves musical examples with Dr. King’s own speeches and sermons to illustrate the powerful place that music held in his work—and examines how the musical community responded to and participated in Dr. King’s cause.

“The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – a true community activist who brought hope and healing to America during a time in our history of rampant injustice and discrimination – have been a source of inspiration for many who seek peace, justice and equality,” said Freeholder Linda Carter. “All are invited to experience this unique production that offers insight into what inspired and influenced the words, actions, spirits and ideals of Dr. King.”

The evening’s event will also feature the 5th annual presentation of the Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award. Presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award is given to a candidate that displays outstanding devotion to the people of Union County through their service-based or philanthropic work.

Admission to “A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood: A Musical Journey of Martin Luther King, Jr.” is free of charge, but advance registration is requested. Please call the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs at 908-558-2550 to reserve a seat, or visit www.ucnj.org/BlackHistoryMonth.

Also in February, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to sponsor two additional Black History Month events.

On Saturday, February 4 at 3:00 p.m., United Youth of New Jersey will present Black Wall Street: A True Reflection of the Sun People at Kean University’s Wilkins Theatre. An original play written and directed by UNYJ founders Mr. and Mrs. Brown, the play tells the story of the men and women of the Greenwood District – one of the most thriving African American communities in America from 1907 to 1921. For more information visit unitedyouthofnj.org or contact UYNJ at 908-220-5279.

Presented by the Union County Performing Arts Center and co-sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the City of Rahway, Call Mr. Robeson, a poignant tribute to an extraordinary man in black history, will be presented at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway on Saturday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m. Written, produced, and performed by Tayo Aluko, this free performance preserves and honors Paul Robeson’s memory while teaching audiences that speaking out against injustice is everyone’s responsibility. For more information visit ucpac.org or call the UCPAC Box Office at 732-499-8226.

For more information about Union County’s 2017 Black History Month events, as well as a map of important historic sites and people from Union County visit ucnj.org/BlackHistoryMonth.

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