DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Each year, the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum welcomes hundreds to enjoy music, performances and presentations that honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year was no different, except more than 100 guests watched from the safety of their homes, as speakers and performers reminded of Dr. King’s work and vision.
On Jan. 18 the museum hosted a virtual Dr. King Jr. program, featuring local leaders in law, education and media, as well as contributions from the next generation. Guests speakers were Deputy State Attorney Alexcia Cox; Brian Knowles, manager of the Ofﬁce of African, African-American, Latino, Holocaust and Gender Studies for the School District of Palm Beach County; and Dexter Bridgeman, founder of the Black Owned Media Alliance. Cox recounted some of King’s Civil Rights moments, including portions of his most noteworthy speeches. She noted a speech he made to junior high school students 12 years before she was born, in which he asked, “What is your life’s blueprint?” Cox reiterated the question to the Zoom audience, by asking, “What is your vision? What is your design for your life and legacy?”
Knowles outlined the important role that education plays in shaping the hearts of all students, by informing them of the contributions that every culture makes in advancing society. He explained that by normalizing, understanding and valuing the perspectives of other cultures, heritages and genders, educators are upholding the principles that King lived and died for. He also reminded the audience that King, while touted for his paciﬁsm, was a rebel and an agitator, who challenged America’s power structure by demanding equal rights, and that students need to be reminded that King’s power resides in them.
“Our responsibility is not to empower students, but to help students identify the power that God has already blessed them with,” he said. “You come from the very lineage of Dr. King. You can tap into that power.”
Bridgeman shared the importance of black media and the critical responsibility it has to preserve and protect the legacy of African and African-American people. During a time when media’s legitimacy is being threatened, Bridgeman called upon the audience to support black media, for it was the primary vehicle in which stories from the African Diaspora are told.
Rounding out the program were an impassioned speech delivered by Derron “DJ” Blake, a fourth-grade student at Northboro Elementary School and poetry award winner from the Knights of Pythagoras, and a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” performed by violinist Cameren Anai Williams from Julliard School.
Board Member Clarence Vaughn paid homage to museum founders, Vera Farrington, the late Spencer Pompey and others, who organized 20 years ago to establish the museum and the West Settlers’ Historical District in Delray Beach. The museum, at 170 NW Fifth Ave. in Delray Beach was founded in July 2001, and this year, a series of events will be held to commemorate its 20th anniversary, including a campaign to raise $100,000 for its continuation. Visit spadymuseum.com.