Remembering King

A manifestation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is realized when Minnesota Timberwolves players Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell display their handiwork on basketball courts worldwide. A manifestation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is realized when Minnesota Timberwolves players Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell display their handiwork on basketball courts worldwide.

Prior to the MN Timberwolves/New Orleans game Monday, Jan. 19, 2004, the Target Center court was transformed to a stage. Target Center hosted the eighth annual MN Timberwolves/Target Corporation MLK celebration, featuring awesome musical and theatrical talent. The theme focused on African American women who shared the struggle for equality with King in the Civil Rights Movement. The program entitled, “Moving the Dream Forward: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: As Seen Through the Eyes of the Women of the Movement”, was written by famed local actor T. Mychael Rambo and Brian Ganders.

Numerous African American women were present, appearing as a brilliant remnant of beauty and strength, from the podium, to center stage, to a sea of audience members. Lea B. Olsen, Minnesota Timberwolves/Lynx Broadcaster served as emcee for the program, and Erika Wickre was the designated sign language interpreter. Thirty-one young women adorned in royal blue African regalia represented the Girls Choir of Harlem, the program’s featured talent. They filled a bleacher stand, and harmoniously sang African American spirituals. Additionally, Rambo (portraying King), Greta Oglesby, (Rambo’s co-actor from Guthrie production Crowns), and high school student Joetta Wright, shared the spotlight in the theatrical sketch depicting major events and individuals of the civil rights movement.

A reflection on the poignant events that changed the hand of time forced audience members to acknowledge history that bought present social freedoms. Rosa Parks challenging authorities in Montgomery, Alabama, December 1, 1955, for freedom to ride public transportation as a Black woman, without being forced to sit in a “colored” section.

February 1, 1960, students from North Carolina A & T College participated in a Woolworth’s sit-in, in Greensboro, North Carolina. This event birthed the movement of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This effort was done with intentions of desegregating restaurants so Blacks could dine peaceably.

Unfortunately, non-violent fighters for freedom and equality faced immeasurable violence and death. Oglesby portrayed a woman’s painful reaction to news of the school bombing killing four young girls, September 15, 1963, at 16th Street Baptist Church, in Birmingham, Ala. Rambo recited excerpts of King’s prophetic final speech at the Masonic Temple before he was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn.

People worldwide enjoy fruits of the Civil Rights Movement. Sprewell and Garnett shared their gratitude for pillars such as Dr. King, with program attendees via video. Sprewell said, “Where would we be if he hadn’t taken the steps to make life better for us. I am surprised at the influence he had on so many people.”

Garnett continued in a separate recording, “He is the glue that has pulled all cultures, races, and religions together. Without knowing your history, you cannot go forward.”

Taylor, age 12; Erin, age 10; and Sidney Taylor, age five, are too young to recall the actual events of the Civil Rights Movement. Their mother Joyce Hayden considers it a necessity to teach her children the importance of the struggle and its relation to their lives today. “It’s nice to be able to have something for the girls to see, feel, and touch, as it relates to our history. Since they weren’t a part of that time, it brings to life a piece of our past and history,” said Mrs. Hayden.

Davin Frazier, age 14, and Dalonda Gray, age 11, recently moved to the Twin Cities from Oklahoma. Their aunt Betty attended the program with the kids to, “Give respect to a man who deserves it

February 2, 2004
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