Now is the Time: MLK Jr's Letter from Birmingham Jail at New Hampton School

NEW HAMPTON — In celebration of Black History Month, New Hampton School's faculty and students lend their voices to the words of Martin Luther King Jr. Members of the New Hampton community from around the world present the Letter from Birmingham Jail as a series of Monologues. The performance is directed by Meredith C. Brown, who is a member of the History and Performing Arts Departments. The public performance is set for Friday, February 7, at 7:30 pm. with a suggested donation of $5 for students and seniors and $10 for adults.

The performance runs about 1 hour and contains language that may not be suitable for students under 10. Brown was motivated to stage the letters "to help our students and our community be more in tune with the words and power of Martin Luther King Junior.

"Many will never read the Letter in its complete form and this is an opportunity to bring it to life, to make it memorable, in a way that is more accessible and real then simply reading it for a class," Brown explained. "I want to give his words life, and set them in a context that brings history and art together. His words are about equality, persistence and moral obligation. They are simply about doing what is right and this applies to everyone in 1963 and today. It is my hope that this performance helps our community to understand that.

"What fascinates me about this work is that it was never written to be spoken, it is meant to be read, but the power of the words is no less poignant then those in better known speeches. Each word is chosen so carefully as to paint a painstaking picture that they cannot be ignored. Sometimes with movements it can be easy to lose sight of the individuality of a cause in his Letter King makes it personal, he gets upset, but at the same time makes use of levity and humor to further his point. This work is something that shows King as more than a great leader that we put high on a pedestal but also as a minister, a husband, a father and a man; which I think is something that can be forgotten."