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2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Observance

Keeping the Dream Alive:
Resistance, Activism, and Getting into Good Trouble

About Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King
Dr. Martin Luther King (1929–1968)

Dr. Martin Luther King, a Baptist minister, scholar, and civil rights activist, was an iconic and impactful leader of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he non-violently fought for racial and economic equality and justice until his assassination in 1968.

King and others were the organizers of high-profile American events such as the Montgomery bus boycott, the march from Selma to Montgomery, and the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. These events and others resulted in the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Connecticut, and later, the University of Hartford played roles in King’s fight for equality and justice. When he was 15 years old, he came to Simsbury, Conn. to pick tobacco and, for the first time, experienced life without segregation. In his autobiography, he wrote: “After that summer in Connecticut, it was a bitter feeling going back to segregation. It was hard to understand…”

In 1959, after the Montgomery bus boycott ended and, during nonviolent protests against segregation organized by King and others in southern states, the University of Hartford invited him to deliver its Alexander S. Keller Memorial Fund Lecture at Bushnell Memorial Hall in Hartford. King’s speech “The Future of Integration,” was not without controversy as he urged attendees to not turn a blind eye to the treatment of their fellow Americans.

As heard on a recording of the 1959 speech, King tells the Hartford audience, “…What we need (is) a committed liberalism - one where individuals stand up on basic principles and give themselves to the right side of this issue realizing that right is right and wrong is wrong and never the twain shall meet. This is something we must do."

Many renowned civil rights events followed King’s speech in Hartford including non-violent lunch counter sit-ins, school desegregation cases, freedom riders who took bus trips to the south to protest segregated restrooms and lunch counters, the March on Washington, and the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. In July 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law with King in attendance.

King’s speech and all Keller Lectures letters, memos, programs, press releases, newspaper clippings, transcripts, and recordings, including Q&A sessions, are digitized and available for researcher use in the University’s Harrison Libraries.

Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, who devoted her life to furthering her husband’s goals, also came to UHart to deliver a guest lecture in 1978.

A Special Tribute

Resistance, Activism, and Getting into Good Trouble Through the Arts

This program performed and produced by The Hartt School honors civil rights activists Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis. The pre-recorded video production features performances by Hartt faculty, alumni, and students demonstrating how they use their creative talents to get into good trouble. Current student and Atomic veteran, Hank Bolden is the featured speaker.

Watch Video

The Hartt School 

Larry Alan Smith, Dean


The 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance
"Keeping the Dream Alive: Resistance, Activism, and Getting into Good Trouble Through the Arts"


  • Peace – Horace Silver

    Mark Templeton, piano, arranger
    Josh Bruneau, trumpet
    Nat Reeves, bass (faculty)

    West End String Quartet
    Sarah Washburn, violin MM ’05
    Marianne Vogel, violin
    John Biatowas, viola
    Anne Berry, cello DMA ’12

  • Welcome

    Larry Alan Smith, Dean of The Hartt School

  • An Introduction and The Hartt Commitment 

    Calida Jones, Director of Engagement - The Hartt School MM '07
    In the background, Hartt student and alto saxophonist Ashley Hines
    performs Duke Ellington's Come Sunday

  • Lift Ev'ry Voice – J. Rosamond Johnson

    Dr. Jolie Rocke, vocalist ’89
    Director of Alumni of Color Taskforce
    Alumni Board of Directors
    Professional Vocalist, Entrepreneur, and Instructor of Music

    Chelsea de Souza, piano

  • An Introduction

    Mildred McNeil, former Executive Director,
    Office of Marketing and Communication - University of Hartford 

  • Let America Be America Again – Langston Hughes 

    Poem Written 1935
    Performed by an ensemble of 17 Hartt Theatre students
    Directed by Associate Professor Diana Moller-Marino

    Originally performed for the University of Hartford's
    Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance on February 20, 2019

  • An Introduction

    Alexzander Larson (student) 

  • Untitled – Yoshito Sakuraba 

    Khristopher Henry, dancer ’19

  • An Introduction

    Jonathan Barber '11

  • Major – Jonathan Barber 

    Jonathan Barber, drums ’11
    Taber Gable, piano ’14
    Andrew Renfroe, guitar ’13
    Matt Dwonszyk, bass ’13
    Godwin Louis, alto saxophone

    Album: Jonathan Barber & Vision Ahead
    Live at Jazz Standard 

  • Alabama – John Coltrane 

    John Coltrane, saxophone
    Nat Reeves, narration
    Bettina Dizon – text

    Music – Alabama, John Coltrane Quartet

    ℗ 2001 The Verve Music Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

  • Sojourner of Truth – Anthony R. Green 

    from “. . . all that is good . . .” (2019) by Anthony R. Green
    Yoo Sun Na, soprano
    Anthony R. Green, piano

  • An Introduction

    Alexzander Larson (student)

  • Beautiful Venus and Serena – Tamica Washington-Miller 

    Tamica Washington-Miller, choreographer
    Associate Director of Lula Washington Dance Theatre

    Marcus Miller – music
    performed by the Marcus Miller Band

    Tehran Dixon, dancer ’12
    Kacey Garland, dancer
    Krystal Hicks, dancer
    Haniyyah Muhammad, dancer

  • Young, Gifted and Black – Nina Simone 

    Daniel Anderson, tenor (student)
    Matthew Bridgeman, tenor, bass, arranger (student)
    Thomas Cannon, baritone (faculty)
    Christi Corey, soprano (student)
    Kayla Cummings, alto (student)
    Dominique Hinton, alto (student)
    Akin Hobson, drums (student)
    Taylor Mitchell, soprano (student)
    Elisabeth Tomczyk, piano (faculty) MM‘12
    Anthony Trecek-King, Director of Choral Activities

  • Getting into Good Trouble

    Dr. Jolie Rocke '89
    In the background, saxophonist Ashley Jemison performs her
    arrangement of Alma Bazel Androzzo's If I Can Help Somebody

  • An Introduction

    Dr. Jolie Rocke '89
    Alexzander Larson (student)

  • Quiet Here – Erin Dillon 

    Erin Dillon, choreographer ’12
    Michele Lee, dancer ’12
    Isaac Owens, dancer

    Music – Ekki Múkk by Sigor Rós

  • An Introduction

    Calida Jones, Director of Engagement - The Hartt School MM '07

  • Revival – Juwan Crawley 

    Music by Juwan Crawley ’16
    Cinematographers, Alex de Guzman & XBT91
    Creative Direction & Production Design, XBT91
    Choreographer, Monyett Crump
    Director, Alex de Guzman
    Editor, Alex de Guzman
    Producer, Missy Paramo

  • An Introduction

    Dr. Jolie Rocke '89

  • Works by Clarence Cameron White 
    On the Bayou


    Composed by Clarence Cameron White
    Arranged by Rita Porfiris

    Performed by Quartet ES
    Ertan Torgul, violin
    Anton Miller, violin (faculty)
    Rita Porfiris, viola (faculty)
    Jennifer Kloetzel, cello

  • An Introduction

    Nat Reeves (faculty) 

  • A Visit with Hank Bolden

    Hank Bolden, saxophonist and atamoic veteran (student)
    More information about Hank Bolden 

  • Walking Blind – Javier Colón 

    Javier Colón, guitar, voice (faculty) ’00

  • We Shall Overcome - David Macbride '73

    Matt Dudack, tin pans ’96
    Murray Mast, tin pans MM ’96

The Hartt School 2021
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance Committee


Lief Ellis MM '06, Art Dipl '07

Celebrating Dr. King

Dr. Yusef Salaam, criminal justice activist and one of the exonerated “Central Park Five,” joined the University of Hartford community on Feb. 10 for a virtual moderated conversation. The program also included a poem recitation by associate professor Joyce Ashuntantang.

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.

Dr. Martin Luther King,

Remembering Past Events

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The University is committed to fostering a welcoming campus climate that is inclusive, and an environment where students, faculty, and staff feel safe and supported. You can learn more about all of our programming and events by visiting our webpage below.