The Gordon Parks Museum staff has been calling attention to and celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. for a decade, according to Kirk Sharp, the executive director of the museum for three years.
“King was an activist, a (black)Baptist minister during the civil rights protests, who fought for change to eliminate racial inequality, all through non-violence,” Sharp said.
The community is invited and encouraged to learn more about his life, which is celebrated nationally around January 15, his birthdate.
Several days are planned to celebrate King’s life in Fort Scott.
This celebration will be done through a series of diverse events: dramatic readings, ballet, films, Lunch and Learns, and the sharing of food.
Events start on Thursday, January 13 at the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center, on the campus of Fort Scott Community College, 2108 S. Horton.
The day begins with the museum staff hosting the Fort Scott Area Chamber Coffee at 8:00 am.
At 7 p.m. that evening, a Kansas City ballet group will do a tribute performance in honor of Martin Luther King and Gordon Parks
The Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey: Ever Present will give a free performance that is funded by the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation.
A reception will follow the performance with light refreshments hosted by Great Western Dining, the FSCC food service provider.
Friday, January 14, a Lunch and Learn in the Ellis Arts Center at noon will feature the Fort Scott High School Advanced Drama students reading the “I Have A Dream” speech given by King. The students are under the direction of teacher Angela Bin.
FSCC students and members of the community will also do some readings related to Martin Luther King, Sharp said.
A reception will follow with birthday cake in honor of King’s birthday.
Lunch and dessert will be provided by Great Western Dining.
The day will also include three film showings at 9:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm, all related to the American Civil Rights Movement.
The celebration will wrap up on Monday, Jan 17th, with a Lunch and Learn event at noon by Prisca Barnes, speaking on the “The Dockum Drugstore Sit-In”, an event that happened in Wichita.
A free lunch will be provided by Luther’s BBQ. Drinks and desserts will be provided by Great Western Dining.
The community is invited and encouraged to bring canned food or cleaning products from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to the museum which is in recognition of King’s day of service events that will happen nationally. These canned goods/cleaning products will be presented to The Beacon, a local helping agency. Please, no out-of-date goods.
The Fort Scott Community College Endowment Foundation is a key contributor to the celebration events.
All events will take place at both the Gordon Parks Museum and Ellis Fine Arts Center.
Civil Rights films will also be shown throughout the day on Friday and Monday.
On Friday, Jan. 14, the community can view the beginning of the series of films Eyes on the Prize: American Civil Rights which starts at 9 a.m. with Awakening, about the murder of Emmett Till and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
At 1:30 p.m. view Fighting Back, a story of the Little Rock Nine and James Meredith.
At 3:30 p.m. view Ain’t Scared of Your Jails, a story of the Nashville sit-ins/boycotts and the Freedom Riders.
On Jan. 17, at 9 a.m. view No Easy Walk, stories from Georgia and Alabama, and the Walk to Washington.
At 10:30 a.m., Mississippi: Is This America? stories of Medgar Evers and the “Mississippi Burning” murders.
And at 1:30 p.m. A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr by Gordon Parks.
The mission of the Gordon Parks Museum is to honor the life and work of Gordon Parks, internationally-known photographer, filmmaker, writer, and musician; and to use his remarkable life story to teach about artistic creativity, cultural awareness, and the role of diversity in our lives.
For more information call the Gordon Parks Museum at
620-223-2700 ext. 5850.