Ten Local Civil and Human Rights Activists to be Honored Including a “Foot Soldier” of Civil Rights Movement
and Local Community Leader For Harbour House
(Annapolis, Md., December 15, 2017) – The milestone 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Dinner will be held Friday, Jan. 12, at 5 p.m. The largest celebration of Dr. King’s birthday in Anne Arundel County will be held at La Fountaine Bleue, 7514 Richie Highway, Glen Burnie. The keynote will be a performance of highlights from the Broadway musical, I Have a Dream, written by Josh Greenfield and directed by veteran actor Herman LeVern Jones of TheatreSouth. The Naval Academy Gospel Choir will performin the Friday show. A full performance of the musical, performed by Broadway stars and community actors, will be held Saturday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium at St. John’s College in Annapolis. I Have a Dream is a gospel musical on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that chronicles the major events of the Civil Rights Movement, giving insight into Dr. King’s love of his family, his sense of humor, and the incredible sacrifices he and others made in the fight for racial equality. Among the 10 honorees acknowledged at the event are: Naval Academy Capt. Robert Dews, Jr., for his mentorship to at-risk children in the Annapolis area; Andre Atkins, for his efforts in decreasing violence in Annapolis’ Harbor House area; Phil Hunter for his dedication to the Civil Rights movement including the historic 1965 march in Alabama; Earl “Tom” Schubert, for his efforts conceiving and building the Afrocentric-curriculum-based Sojourner-Douglass College in Edgewater, Md.; and J.T. “Kim” Sharps, for his dedication to the Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee. The winner of the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dream Keeper’s Award will be announced at the dinner. Tickets for the dinner are $65-100, and may be purchased online at www.mlkjrmd.org, by phone at 410.760.4115; or by mail to MLK Jr. Committee, PO Box 371, Annapolis, Md. 21404. For more information, call 301-538-6353. Saturday-night theater tickets are $35 for general public and $20 for students and seniors. For ticket information, call 301.904.3690.
The Broadway musical, I Have a Dream, first debuted in 1976 with Billy Dee William playing Dr. King. The play portrays the life of Dr. King and important moments of the civil rights movement through song and dance. The production, which has toured internationally, includes a compilation gospel songs from the Civil Rights Movement, including the famous songs We Shall Overcome and Free at Last. Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks praised the show when they saw it in the 1980’s.
The Saturday performance of I Have a Dream will feature a cast of Broadway stars and local community actors, including Broadway actor Jahi Kearse as Dr. King. Other professional cast members include Dwayne Stephenson, Samantha Davis, Jacovia Farrington, Joshua Ynirio, Porsha Estime, Keith McCary, Anton IIya, Quillian Minot, Patricia Carby, Davern Frasier and Music Director Jason Sweeting. Community theatre cast members from the Annapolis area include Marvin “Mack” Jones, Dan Burkarth, Jamela Dillard, Ariana Dillard, Evangela Butler-Sherman, Tracy Neal, Victoria Williams, Mia Williams, Darrick Johnson, Crystal Lynch, Hope Anderson, Cecile Jackson, Victor Kakulu, Taylor Chunn, Carolyn Chunn, Katherine Manchester, and Roslyn Dyer.
Keith McCary performed in the film, Poetic Justice, playing the role of Cuz’n Pete alongside Tupac Shakur, Janet Jackson, and Maya Angelou. Mack Jones is a local singer, arranger, and actor who recently performed with influential Gospel artists such as Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, and Marvin Winans.
Herman LeVern Jones is a 44-year veteran of African American Theatre. In 1974, while still in college, he founded the LaVerne Players, Inc. in Raleigh, N.C. During the company’s tenure, he produced, directed, and performed in more than 200 productions. He’s a board member of the New Federal Theatre in New York City, and has served on the Ohio Arts Council, the Massachusetts Cultural Arts Council, and as a panelist on the South Carolina Arts Council for their theatre division. Jones has worked with Maya Angela, Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Debbie Allen, August Wilson, Lloyd Richards, and Ruby Dee.
Jones taught at several universities as adjunct professor and professor, and also lectured at several seminars for performing arts. Some of his educational experiences included teaching at his alma mater the University of North Carolina, the University of Massachusetts, University of Rochester, and Yale University. Jones received his bachelor’s degree in African American Theatre and English from North Carolina State University and his master’s degree in acting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jones founded TheatreSouth (TSA) in 2007 in Atlanta, Ga. Its mission is to educate, enlighten, strengthen, and enhance local talents through theatre arts. TSA has formed a special partnership with the Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee of Anne Arundel County based on the committee’s community involvement and leadership.
Carl Snowden, founder and director of the Committee, is an Annapolis Civil Rights leader who spearheaded a successful campaign to build the first Coretta Scott King Memorial Garden, the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Maryland and in 2013 erected the Foot Soldiers Civil Rights Memorial in Annapolis to honor the 250,000 who risked their lives to attend the 1963 “I have a Dream” March on Washington.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Dinner in Anne Arundel County was founded in 1988 by then Alderman Carl Snowden. Designed to pay homage to the memory of Dr. King, the dinner honors those whose deeds, words, and actions have helped keep his legacy alive. The banquet is a reflection on the best that Anne Arundel County has to offer.
Other winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., awards who will be recognized for their dedication to the ideals of Dr. King include: Reverend Stephen A. Tillett; Dr. Andree Mountain; Janice Hayes-Williams; and Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk.
The awards dinner is presented by the Annapolis-based Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee, Inc. at La Fontaine Bleue, 7514 Richie Highway, Glen Burnie. Dinner tickets are $65. VIP tickets are $100 and include premium seating and a private reception before the dinner with hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.