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Sat, Dec. 14

Prescott High School pays tribute to M.L.K

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Isaac Benson-White reads Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” Friday night during Prescott High School Fine Arts Department Presents Believe, a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier Isaac Benson-White reads Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” Friday night during Prescott High School Fine Arts Department Presents Believe, a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

There was an odd sense of incongruity Friday evening when the Prescott High School Fine Arts Department presented "Believe," a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

It seemed strange, but somehow fitting, that the words of African American poets Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes and Lewis Allen were coming from the mouths of white students.

African American children need no reminder about Dr. King. They know his legacy.

The white students must learn why America celebrates the life of Dr. King with a national holiday.

Louisa Nelson, director of drama at PHS, said she presented the first tribute to Dr. King six years ago at the urging of then vice-principal Susan Farina.

Nelson said Farina felt that "students did not know why Monday is a holiday."

Since that first production, Nelson said the fine arts department has presented an MLK tribute about every two years.

Senior Victoria Cook could hardly rein in her excitement before the production started.

This is Cook's fourth year in the drama program, and every year she has reminded Nelson "We have to do a MLK tribute my senior year."

Cook, an African American, said, "Race is still an issue. Americans are still dealing with looking at people as different because of the color of their skin."

One of the most emotional numbers of the evening was Kaushik Goswami and Savannah Martin's performance of Dion's "Abraham, Martin and John."

Nelson said she wanted the song in the program.

"I wanted to show the layering, of how it took the assassination of Dr. King to get where we are today," she said.

Nelson wanted to show the connection between Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and president-elect Barrack Obama. One would not be possible without the sacrifices of the others.

Not quite 18 years old, Cook said she could not vote in the 2008 Presidential Election.

She did however, campaign and march for Obama.

"It isn't that I didn't like John McCain; it is just that I thought it was time for a change. I think Obama is going to surprise people. I think they are going to be blown away by what he does," Cook said.

On the back of the program, included in the director's notes, was this unattributed quotation:

"Rosa sat so Martin could walk; Martin walked so Obama could run; Obama ran so our children could soar."

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