Honoring Dr. King, Until Freedom Rings

June 6, 2022

Show Time: 7:30 pm

On June 5, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. paid his only visit to the Summit City. That visit will be commemorated on Monday, June 6 at the Embassy Theatre by local pastor and activist Rev. Bill McGill.  This year’s theme is Stop Placing Blame – Carry His Flame! “Now more than ever we must keep his message and mission alive, if we hope as a community to not simply survive but thrive,” said McGill.

Unable to gather since 2019 when Martin Luther King, III was the guest and laid a wreath on the bridge that bears his father’s name, this year’s speaker is the New York Times best-selling author and activist Anthony Ray Hinton who was wrongly held on Death Row in Alabama for 30 years.  While depicted in the book and movie Just Mercy, his own memoirs The Sun Does Shine went on to become Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2018. One of the longest serving death row prisoners in Alabama history and among the longest serving condemned prisoners to be freed after presenting evidence of innocence, Mr. Hinton was the 152nd person exonerated from death row since 1983.  Civil Rights legal legend Bryan Stevenson has said: “Race, poverty, inadequate legal assistance, and prosecutorial indifference to innocence conspired to create a textbook example of injustice. I can’t think of a case that more urgently dramatizes the need for reform than what happened to Anthony Ray Hinton.” Earlier in the day on June 6, Mr. Hinton will meet privately with members of the Allen County Bar Association for a Q & A session.

The evening ticketed event at the Embassy Theatre begins at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by the renowned principal violist for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Derek Reeves, who has created a version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to debut with his family.  Special musical guest will be two-time Grammy Award Winner Smokie Norful, whose gospel album I Need You Now was certified Gold and launched him to the forefront of the musical industry. In 2009, Fort Wayne native Heather Headley and Norful performed the duet “Jesus Is Love” on her album Audience of One.  He is also a multiple Stellar & Dove Award winner but maintains he is “simply a husband, father and pastor in that order that is humbled by God’s continued use of his gifts.”