Launched on the 16th of January, Freedom City 2017 event starts a year-long tribute across Newcastle commemorating Dr Martin Luther King Jr. It celebrates the 50th anniversary of Dr King’s visit to Newcastle on the 13th of November 1967 where he received an honorary degree from Newcastle University.
Professor Richard Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engagement and Internationalisation said:
“Newcastle University was the only UK University to honour Dr King in this way during his lifetime and it remains one of the most important moments in our history.”
On accepting this award Dr King made a speech that is his last outside the US before the horrible assassination in April 1968. In this speech he identified three “urgent and great problems” in the world: racism, poverty, and war that are as relevant today as they were in 1967.
Freedom City 2017 event will aim to bring people together, create internationally significant work, stimulate academic debate, and inspire a new generation to tackle the problems of racism, poverty, and war.
Tyneside filmmakers, Adam and Patrick Collerton, devised this vision in a partnership with Newcastle University, Northern Roots, and NewcastleGateshead initiative. It is a one of a kind collaborative effort with partners across the city.
Highlights of the commemoration include Freedom City on the Tyne 2017 which is a day-long series of performances recreating civil rights stories all over the city. The drama is led by renowned director Tim Supple and award-winning writer Roy Williams, and showcases the talent of local actors, dancers, musicians and performers.
There will also be opened a new exhibition in the Great North Museum: Hancock, exploring Dr King’s visit to Newcastle in 1967 with photographs and oral histories.
Keep an eye out for new art in and around campus as well! Students from Newcastle University’s school of Arts and Culture are creating an exhibition in the XL gallery.
Moreover, a portrait sculptor Nigel Boonham is working on a bronze statue of Dr Martin Luther King to be installed on campus this year.
There are also a number of academic projects taking place. Academics at Newcastle and Northumbria Universities are teaming up with local teachers to incorporate Dr King’s visit to Newcastle into their curriculum.
An international academic conference discussing the latest world-class research on the US civil rights movement will take place along side the INSIGHTS public lectures programme. For this year it centres on the themes of racism, poverty, and war, beginning on the 21st of February with a talk from Reverend Jeffrey Brown.
Find out about more upcoming events and how to get involved on Freedom City 2017’s official website: freedomcity2017.com