Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration January 15, 2017
5pm: Reception on the Plaza
5:30pm: Ceremony welcoming the return of Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk
6pm: Reception continues
7pm: The Fierce Urgency of Now, a lecture by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Join us for a celebration in honor of the life and work of the Rev. Dr. King. The evening begins with a ceremony on the plaza to welcome the return of the Broken Obelisk by Barnett Newman after a year away for conservation. The event will include words by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Director Gary Tinterow as well as original poems performed by Jackson Neal, 2016 Meta-four Houston Youth Poetry Slam team member, and Fareena Arefeen, City of Houston’s second Youth Poet Laureate, an initiative led by Writers in the Schools, the City of Houston, and the Houston Public Library. Enjoy refreshments during the reception on the plaza, and end the evening in the Chapel with a talk by American commentator, journalist and novelist, Leonard Pitts, Jr.
The Fierce Urgency of Now
What is our role—individually and collectively—to build social movements that lift up equity and justice and keep at bay the powers and principalities whose aims are to divide and destroy community?
What forms of non-violence should resistance take in the struggle for social change?
How do we learn to listen to the fears, hopes and desires of our neighbors even if the language is not our own?
As a journalist whose work engages a broad cross-section of America and explores the powers and societal dynamics that both enhance and tear at the fabric of community, Leonard Pitts, Jr. will explore some of these key questions in light of the current state of our nation post-election. More than ever, Dr. King’s message and his social engagement methods are urgent. It is a time to re-energize and renew the commitment to inclusion, whether that be race, gender, or other areas that divide us. This urgency to unite is an alarm bell ringing in the night. Join Mr. Pitts and the Rothko Chapel in exploring the necessary trouble that we as citizens must get into as we stand together and defend the rights of all human beings.
About Leonard Pitts
Leonard Pitts, Jr. Award-Winning Columnist
A former writer for Casey Kasem’s radio program “American Top 40,” Leonard Pitts, Jr. was a pop music critic at the Miami Herald where he began writing about race and current affairs in his own column. Today, his Miami Herald newspaper column on pop culture, social issues and family life is syndicated in more than 150 daily newspapers. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, he won the top prize for commentary at the Scripps Howard Foundation’s National Journalism Awards in 2002. He is also the author of the bestseller, Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood, a poignant account of the nature and meaning of black fatherhood in the contemporary United States. Pitts’ column has also won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, among others. He is a three-time recipient of the National Headliners Award. In 2001, he received the American Society of Newspaper Editors prestigious ASNE Award for Commentary Writing and was named Columnist of the Year by Editor and Publisher magazine. In 2002, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists awarded Pitts its inaugural Columnist of the Year award. Also in 2002, GLAAD Media awarded Pitts the Outstanding Newspaper Columnist award. For more information please visit www.apbspeakers.com or http://
Registration for the 7pm lecture is now full, follow this link (http://
Admission will begin 30 minutes prior to the 7pm lecture for guests who are on the original registration list. If any seats remain, we admit waitlist registrants in the order they signed up. You must be present to maintain your place on the waitlist. If no seats in the Chapel are available, weather permitting, we will have overflow seating outside where you can view a live feed of the lecture projected onto the exterior of the Chapel.