Martin Luther King Day Event Emphasizes the Power of Words
Local families celebrated the day at the Banneker-Douglass Museum, where they listened to famous literary passages and recorded their own hopes and dreams.
For Lisa Peyton-Caire, a Bowie resident and mother of five, it’s important that her children understand the long, rich history of African Americans in this country—including the sacrifices made by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders of the civil rights movement.
“It’s just important for me that my children understand Dr. King’s legacy and his impact on America," she said.
Peyton-Caire and her children were at the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis Monday, attending the Garment of Destiny: A Day of Remembrance and Service event.
The event featured a performance of poems and well-known literary passages from key figures in African American history, including Phyllis Wheatley, Sojurner Truth, Frederick Douglass and Langston Hughes.
Peyton-Caire said a lot of what her children were learning at the event isn’t taught in school.
For audience member Yevola Peters, the event offered a historical perspective of the past.
“It’s these things that help us reflect on the past as we look at where we are today,” Peters said.
Joyell Johnson, the Volunteer Maryland coordinator for the museum, compiled and selected the readings and directed the performance.
“I really hope people take away from this the power of words and putting something in writing,” she said.
Joni Jones, the museum’s director, said the performance reminds people of King’s history and serves as “an invitation for people to be part of that legacy.”
Jones said she was thrilled with the turnout.
Johnson said she hoped hearing the passages would make people think about what they are here for and what they want people to remember them by.
With this idea in mind, after the performance, attendees were invited downstairs to participate in an art project where they could record their own hopes and dreams.
The activity was inspired from a famous Martin Luther King, Jr. quote. The quote, which can be read on the museum's website here, says, "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
Naima Wood, 8, of Glen Burnie, wrote that she hopes to be able to stop bullying.
"I always tell someone in my row stop but he always keeps teasing me," she said.
"I hope people stop stealing money and other people's stuff," another card read.
"I hope to be a doctor," another child wrote.
"I dream of being an astronaut," read another card.
All dreams, and hopes for the future, put down in writing for others to see, just like the leaders before them.