Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream lives on

The centerpiece of this celebration is a multi-media exhibit featuring photographs of Dr. King by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, Moneta Sleet, Jr. The exhibit of Mr. Sleet’s photographs, which opened on Jan. 11, features prominent moments in Dr. King's life as captured by Mr. Sleet. Mr. Sleet was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his photograph of Coretta Scott King at her husband’s funeral. Mr. Sleet, who was born in Kentucky but later resided on Long Island, died in 1996.

The civil rights photos of recently retired Newsday photographer Jim Peppler will also be on display. A related multimedia exhibit incorporates historic documents and continuous showings of several documentaries, including “Citizen King,” “I Have a Dream,” “Eyes on the Prize,” and “Mighty Times: The Children’s March.”
And to coincide with next week’s inauguration, the museum examines the recent presidential campaign through posters and varied campaign items which promoted President-elect Obama’s message. The “Road to the Presidency” exhibit features the work of artists who contributed images used on posters for the Obama campaign, with more than 100 posters and other items on display. Among the works on view are photographs from the 2008 Democratic Party convention taken by Long Island native Alice Attie. In 2003, Attie published a photographic study of the economic and cultural changes taking place in Harlem, “Harlem on the Verge.” In addition, the exhibit will incorporate images of Barack Obama done by members of the Long Island Black Artists Association.

The second featured exhibit, “Souls of Black Genius: Images of Afro-Americans’ Sounds, Thoughts and Visions,” showcases the work of Long Island commercial artist and photographer Anthony Barboza. Barboaza has worked as a commercial photographer for a broad range of prominent corporate clients. Barboza’s editorial work has also appeared in such publications as Esquire, Essence and Sports Illustrated. The exhibit includes 62 photographs spanning the length of Barboza’s career, including portraits of prominent African American entertainers, writers and politicians. These exhibits open Thursday, Jan. 15, and run through Mar. 10.
The museum honors Dr. King at its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, on Monday, noon-6 p.m. Along with the photography exhibit, the event features a presentation of “The Great Debate: Change in America,” a play by African American Museum Director David Byer-Tyre. The play offers a comparative view of the socio-economic issues raised by Dr. King, President-elect Barack Obama and Frederick Douglas, the slave-turned-abolitionist leader. It is staged from 4-6 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King Day/
Inauguration Celebration
When: Monday, Jan. 19, noon-6 p.m.
Where: African America Museum, 110 N. Franklin St.,Hempstead.
(516) 572-0730
Photo: 83934B EM Obama Rally
Caption: In October, Eisenhower Park served as host to one of many rallies in support of Barack Obama’s run for the presidency. Three months later, Eisenhower Park will be the site for Long Island’s inaugural ball to celebrate the swearing in of President-elect Barack Obama.
L.I.’s own inaugural ball

There is an alternative for those who did not obtain a ticket for next week’s inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, or an invite to one of several formal balls in Washington, D.C. Long Islanders wanting to celebrate the historical inauguration in style do not have to look further than Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

Sponsored by the non-profit Long Island Citizens Inaugural Committee, The Carltun at Eisenhower Park is the site for the Long Island Inaugural Ball. For $65 per person, Long Islanders – dressed in their best formalwear – can experience an evening that recaps the historical day in Washington, D.C., and honors people who planners say reflect the president-elect’s vision of leadership in local

“We want to add our little Long Island flavor, have all the characters and personalities and just want to acknowledge the event with a formal affair and offer the opportunity for the average citizen,” said Rodney Brown, a Baldwin resident who leads the ball’s event planning committee.

Brown, also the chairman for the Human Rights Commission of Nassau County, said he cried the evening of Election Day when the results soon validated that the first African-American was to be elected president of the United States. It was special for Brown, who at 47, grew up in the same period as Obama and has witnessed the nation change from Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Era to the inauguration of America’s first black president.

“I was born the same year as Barack Obama, and I think that I am shocked that this has occurred,” said Brown, who grew up in Hempstead. “I thought it would have happened in my 24-year-old daughter’s generation than in mine.”

As he cried on Election Night, Brown recalled, his daughter asked her father why he was so emotional. Brown told her that she would never truly understand his perspective as a black man growing up in turbulent times of intolerance.

“We have arrived in a moment of time when America really has said it is America,” Brown said. “The generation before me, our parents, taught us that we are all equal and that we could be what we wanted to be. That has borne tremendous truth in our society.”

The Long Island Inaugural Ball is on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 7-11 p.m. The cost is $65 per person. Dress is formal black tie. For tickets or more information, call Brown at (516) 643-6557 or Sharon Gripper at (516) 532-9981. The event is not-for-profit, and any remaining proceeds will be donated to the Barack Obama Elementary School in
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