This week, I promised you all something special for Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Day, and I have it here. Yesterday, I celebrated this day by going to the Odgen Museum of Southern Art for its 5th Annual Free MLK Jr. Day Celebration. It was presented with support provided by Cox Communications.
The event contained a museum scavenger hunt, family friendly entertainment, an interactive “I Have a Dream” wall, and a lot more. My husband and I had fun writing our own ” I Have a Dream” messages, and I had a great time using the 360 degree photo booth!
With all of that, I’d the say the highlight of my time at the museum was attending the panel discussion that explored “the history of social justice activism in New Orleans, as well as contemporary social justice movements in the city.”
Led by Shukrani Gray, African American Resource Collection Equity and Inclusion Librarian at the New Orleans Public Library, the panel consisted of guests like Mariah Moore – an award-winning social justice advocate, National Organizer at the Transgender Law Center, and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the House of Tulip – and Leon Waters – the board chairperson of the Louisiana Museum of African American History as well as tour host and manager of Hidden History, L.C.C.. Both guests espoused their knowledge perspectives on the history of social justice movements in the city and what people could do to continue the communal effort.
Since Waters is the manager of Hidden History, he received cheers and ruffled some feathers with asserting that MLK became a hero for the oppressive party and that he was murdered by the FBI (the latter has been proved to be false.) Despite that misinformation, Waters was right was about how we shouldn’t put MLK on the pedestal. Like other famous names in the 1960s civil rights movement, he has been mythologized, and it’s important to humanize him and to see the events from that era from multiple perspectives, so we can have a more nuance view on that time.
Overall, it was a fun time, and I certainly look forward to attending more events like this and finding ways to enhance equity and inclusion as a librarian.
Stay tuned for part two next week where I show you all the bookshops that I explored in New Orleans!
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