Mayor Walsh Honors MLK

MLK Celebration at Faneuil Hall (BU News Service/Mikaela Lefrak)
MLK Celebration at Faneuil Hall (BU News Service/Mikaela Lefrak)

By Mikaela Lefrak
BU News Service

The voices of young and old reverberated through Faneuil Hall during a celebration of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy on Monday afternoon.

A diverse crowd of hundreds filled the landmark Boston building to capacity.  The city’s new mayor, Marty Walsh, welcomed the attendees and reiterated King’s message of unity and service.  “One nice act, it’s all you need to do, every single day,” he said to the young people in the audience.

Walsh also called on the crowd to work together on some of the issues brought up numerous times during his mayoral campaign, including employment, education, and safety.  “It’s going to take all of us to stop the cycle of senseless violence in our neighborhoods,” he said.

The annual MLK Day event, organized by the Museum of Afr0american American History, featured live music by the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Intensive Community Program.  The students played selections of Vivaldi and Warlock, moving many audience members to tears.

“It warms my heart to see such a diverse orchestra with such a wide range of talents,” said Rev. Barbara Perryman after the event, which she had attended with her friend, Juanda Drumgold.

“Caucaisians, Asians, blacks,” said Drumgold. “Everyone has to know everyone’s history.  Today wasn’t about one race. It’s about everybody.”

The event’s keynote speaker was Judy Richardson, the documentary filmmaker and civil rights activist.  She told the audience about her time in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s, as well as the process of producing “Eye on the Prize,” an Academy Award-nominated documentary on the history of the civil rights movement.

“The leaders of the movement could be shot, they could be beaten, but never, ever did they stop,” Richardson said.  Murmurs of agreement rose up from the crowd.

The orchestra closed the event with a number of spirituals and freedom songs.  Attendees got to their feet to sing and clap along.  During the last number, “We Shall Overcome,” the audience joined hands across the seats and aisles.  “We’ll walk hand in hand,” they sang. “We are not alone.”

Musicians play at MLK service at Faneuil Hall. (Mikaela LeFrak/BU News Service)
Musicians play at MLK service at Faneuil Hall. (Mikaela Lefrak/BU News Service)

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