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Jan Flanagan at the Providence Journal has put together a great list of things to do on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, next Monday. I’ll highlight a few to help you plan ahead, but rather than lift the whole calendar, I hope you will go to the ProJo website, here.

The Providence Public Library will feature an exhibit with photos showing the famous Selma to Montgomery March, about which a movie was made in 2014.

In case you are near Newport on the 18th, Chevette Jefferies will speak at the Thompson Middle School at 9:30 a.m.; James Gillis will keynote a lunch at the Mainstay Inn; and St. Joseph’s Church will hold a special worship service at 5 p.m.

You could also consider participating in a Day of Service at the Martin Luther King Elementary School in Providence, a collaboration with RISD (the Rhode Island School of Design) “to help children reach their full potential by engaging them in arts, crafts, special activities and conservation.” And here’s something that sounds like fun: a celebration of black storytelling, ribsfest.org.

The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence will hold a candlelight vigil in honor of Sister Ann Keefe,  a longtime supporter of the Providence nonprofit, which follows in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr.

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, will hold a memorial service and reception 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Woonsocket.

Finally, the Providence Children’s Museum will feature living history portrayals of civil-rights activists Ralph Abernathy, Rosa Parks and others by local actors.

Get all the details about these and other January 18 events here.

Photo: AP
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at the University of Rhode Island on Oct. 5, 1966.

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I love listening to Worcester-based WICN (jazz radio). Bonnie Johnson had an especially good show yesterday, opening with Cynthia Scott and 3rd, 4th & 5th graders of PS32 in Brooklyn, NY, singing “Dream for One Bright World.”

“There is a new day dawning
“The time is now
“The world is ready for a change …

“Let’s teach out children to care
“To help one another
“And mend broken hearts
“So many children in the world
“Have never had a chance
“Their time has come …

(More lyrics here.)

You can listen to WICN online at wicn.org. Bonnie Johnson’s program is described at Colors of Jazz. “Bonnie Johnson is host of Colors of Jazz on Sunday afternoon from noon-4 pm. If you asked the Worcester native how she found jazz, she would tell you that jazz found her. As an undergraduate student at Howard University in Washington, DC, Ms. Johnson became a fan of the Quiet Storm featured on the college station WHUR-FM. …

“Ms. Johnson appreciates the diversity and the evolution of music. As a self-taught electric bassist, she has enjoyed many years of playing various types of music with her daughter and close friends in a family band. Growing up, she sang in the St. Cecilia Girl Choir at All Saints Worcester. …

“Ms. Johnson holds B.A. in Liberal Studies and M.S. in Communications and Information Management degrees from Bay Path College. She believes the future of jazz is in our children, stating, ‘Music and the arts is one area that gives young people an outlet and release of creative energy. While there are many children exposed to music through lessons and attending live performances, there are too many more that are not.’ One of Johnson’s primary goals as host at WICN is to reach youth in creative ways through community engagement.”

That’s something to think about on Martin Luther King’s birthday — and maybe to act on, too.

Bonnie Johnson, host of WICN radio’s Colors of Jazz 

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I heard the singer Harry Belafonte give a speech today. Boy, is he ever “in the fray” at 85!

He covered his life story: the journey from New York to his mother’s Jamaican relatives to be raised by a poor but big-hearted village; service in WW II; involvement in black theater in Harlem; acting training at the New School with classmates such as Marlon Brando; and social justice activism with people like Eleanor Roosevelt, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela.

His “monologue” was loaded with intriguing and amusing anecdotes, and his face lit up in that wonderful youthful smile that many will recall.

I was interested to see where the talk would wind up, because it was clear that helping the poor and combating injustice still make him tick. He moved on from his own story to honoring the youthfulness and nonviolence of the Occupy movement and then zeroed in on his current concern, our prison system.

He asked why the country has more people in prison than any other country and why we spend more to build prisons than schools. He acknowledged that states like California and New York are beginning to find better ways to deal with underlying social ills. Belafonte himself volunteers at SingSing to help inmates get a college education.

Bruce Springsteen, he said, once asked him how to deal with some of the issues the country faces, and Belafonte answered that when someone knocks on his door, he opens it. He thinks it is important to hear whatever the knocker has to say.

I can attest to that. As a young teen I myself knocked on his door, and he opened it. I wish I could say I was knocking about social justice, but it was something mundane. That summer people were circulating petitions to keep a road from being built on Fire Island, which we loved partly because there were no roads. Harry Belafonte signed the petition.

Here he is, just having fun.

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Today I went to Belmont Against Racism’s 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast and heard broadcast journalist Callie Crossley speak.

As a high school student, Crossley participated in the marches of the striking Memphis garbage workers, whom MLK Jr had come to support at the time of his death in 1968.

King was already turning his attention to the challenges of poverty and unequal opportunity that we have been hearing so much about since the recession. Crossley exhorted the large audience to be active, not just nostalgic, speaking specifically to folks who feel they are not leaders or who just feel weary of struggle.

She said, “Leadership comes when no will say and no one is doing.” And she quoted a line from Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund, who visited Boston a while back: “You have no right to be tired when there is still work to be done.”

Later Crossley answered questions, advising one student on getting involved to defeat new measures likely to undercut voting rights.

In response to a question about how she got into journalism, she told a funny story about writing a newspaper at age 8 (like Axel), with all the articles about herself. She laughed that she couldn’t understand why her neighbors didn’t want to pay for it and said that was how she learned that news stories are supposed to be about other people.

Music provided by poet and performer Regie Gibson as well as by Berklee College of Music student Angelina Mbulo was great.

I sat with an Ethiopian family. From time to time we were riveted by the sign language interpreters at a nearby table. It is so like watching theater or dance. Beautiful.

There were activities nationwide today, including service projects like one at Kids4Peace.

Meanwhile in Bellingham, Washington, where Erik’s Aunt Anna reads Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog, the Kulshan chorus was on deck once more to help residents celebrate.

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