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Martin Luther King III to speak at JCC

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When it comes to teaching the importance of success and legacy, Jefferson Community College is getting as close to the source as possible.

Martin Luther King III is headlining JCC’s “Evening of Music and Conversation” at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the college’s Sturtz Theater.

Mr. King, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s oldest son, will discuss his father’s legacy and overcoming obstacles.

Although February is National Black History Month, Assistant Director of Student Activities Thomas D. Wojcikowski said that was not the reason the college decided to ask Mr. King to speak at the college.

“It’s something that’s important to bring in,” he said. “We’re always looking for speakers that would captivate the students. It’s a cultural event.”

He said that Mr. King’s agency, the Harry Walker Agency, was not available to comment because of time constraints.

Last year, the college did another “Evening of Music and Conversation,” featuring actors Danny Glover as Langston Hughes and Felix Justice as Martin Luther King Jr.

Mr. Wojcikowski said that while hosting an Evening of Music and Conversation event two years in a row was unintentional, he would not be opposed to his student activities board making it an annual event.

“It’s a possibility,” he said. “They thought this will be a great program. It’ll be a packed house.”

Mr. King speaks about his father’s legacy at college campuses across the country, but his speech for JCC will be customized also to cover how to overcome challenges, a topic JCC has covered through many speakers in the past.

“It’s a positive message,” Mr. Wojcikowski said. “While the students face challenges, everyone has to face challenges. All of our students are unique because we have both traditional and nontraditional students. To hear his story and the story of his father, it might spark something in them that makes them say, ‘I want to do better. I want to be more successful.’”

Black Violin, the night’s opening act, features two hip-hop violinists, an act that Mr. Wojcikowski said is touted as unique.

The JCC student activities pamphlet states that “Black Violin breaks all the rules, blending the classical with the modern to create something rare, a sound that no one has heard, but that everyone wants to feel.”

Tickets are free but are required for attendance because of space constraints. JCC students can get two tickets per student starting Tuesday. Public tickets, two per person, will be available starting Feb. 4.

“I think having Mr. King come in is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Mr. Wojcikowski said. “It’s a very positive message for all of our students and the community.”

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