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WPBS marks Martin Luther King Day with special programming

January 17, 2022 is the 27th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday and day of service – established to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, and to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. To mark the occasion, WPBS presents programs honoring Dr. King’s legacy on the afternoon of Sunday, January 16th including a new special: New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Opportunity and Promise, hosted by Grammy & Emmy-winning songwriter/composer Christopher Jackson of ‘Hamilton’. This one-hour tribute showcases people and organizations from across New York that embody the principles of one of America’s most significant leaders for social justice, freedom and equality.

In announcing the release of this program on New York’s PBS stations, Governor Nancy Hochul stated that “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to the fight for equality, and his legacy continues to serve as a driving force for countless Americans seeking a fairer, more just society. This year, New York will honor Dr. King’s legacy through music and art. I invite you all to tune in and experience this unique show that not only teaches us our past but will help inspire our next generation of leaders to build a better world.”

Through the eyes of New Yorkers from Syracuse to Poughkeepsie, Schenectady to Long Island, the program focuses on King’s life and dreams with music, art and stories that reflect opportunity and promise.

New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Opportunity and Promise will be broadcast on WPBS-TV at 1:00 pm on Sunday, January 16th and can also be viewed by residents of Northern New York on the WPBS livestream:

WPBS will also broadcast The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert with the Cleveland Orchestra at 12:00 noon. This concert performance is hosted by actor James Pickens, Jr., and honors the life and legacy of the civil rights icon. Conducted by music director Franz Welser-Möst, the Cleveland Orchestra performs classical selections by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Verdi as well as traditional hymns and spirituals, including “Down by the Riverside,” “Precious Lord,” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

At 2:00 pm, the documentary With Infinite Hope: MLK & the Civil Rights Movement looks back at King’s life, leadership, and legacy. The program follows King’s career from his hiring at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, through his death on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis. The documentary includes interviews with people who participated in well-known events of the Civil Rights Movement: the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Freedom Rides, the Birmingham Children’s March, Selma, and the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike.

Finally at 3:00 pm, learn more about the relationship between Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King, In the documentary Legacy of Love. From their initial meeting as college students, they were committed to making the country a better place. In the end, they made the world a better place. The film shows that history and makes it relevant to today’s audiences – utilizing living witnesses, interactive storytelling and graphic animation. Legacy of Love uses historical dramatizations with actors, authentic period wardrobe and props; 4K cinematography; rare historic archival footage and images of the Kings in their early years; and interviews with people who knew the Kings in the early 1950’s and have never been interviewed before for a film of this scope.