By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Myriad Botanical Gardens, in collaboration with the Ralph Ellison Foundation, will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with events on Monday, January 16. The day will include music, crafts, and readings to honor Dr. King, American’s civil rights icon.
Steven Oliven, with the Ralph Ellison Foundation, will recite Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech at 2:30 p.m.
“When offered the opportunity to recite, what is to me, the single most powerful and moving speech of that century, I jumped at the chance,” said Oliven. “The tone, timbre and every vocal inflection combined with the sheer power and righteousness of the message could not be denied! The speech is Communication at its most pure. I am honored to, in any way, support that message in remembrance of this Civil Rights Hero/Icon.”
The Sanctuary Choir, the Pillar and Ground of Truth singers, from the Church of the Living God in Oklahoma City will be onsite singing traditional and contemporary gospel music during the day.
Other events that day will include poetry readings by Najah Hylton and Gregory McPherson II from Ralph Ellison Foundation at 1 p.m. For children, a Story Time session will be held at 1:30 p.m.
From 1:30-2:30 p.m. the Peace Dove Craft event will be held.
Reciting of Martin L. King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech will be presented at 2:30 p.m. by Steven Oliven, from the Ralph Ellison Foundation, on the Water Stage or South Lobby, Crystal Bridge (depending on weather).
From 3-4 pm., The Sanctuary Choir from the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of Truth will perform gospel music on the Water Stage or South Lobby of the Crystal Bridge (depending on weather).
Visitors are invited to participate by sharing their vision for a better world on a peace wall in the South Lobby. They can also visit the Sugar Shack and Melodees Soul Food and Creole food trucks in the Circle Drive from 1 – 4 p.m.
The Devon Ice Rink will be open with extended hours from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. that day.
Also on January 16, the Gardens will open the photographic exhibition, Oklahoma: All That Southwest Jazz, which is a part of the Oklahoma Museums Association touring exhibition service, produced by the Oklahoma Arts Council. The exhibit will run through February in honor of Black History Month.
The exhibit uses narrative text and historic photographs to trace Oklahoma blues lineage from Count Basie, who began his climb to stardom from Oklahoma City’s “Blue Devils,” to Yale native Chet Baker’s contribution to the art form. Among legendary jazzmen who staged their early careers in Oklahoma are Jimmy Rushing, Charlie Christian, Lester Young, Earl Bostic, and more.
The Myriad Botanical Gardens is a 15-acre natural escape in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City. A half-acre children’s garden, an off-leash dog park, restaurant space, splash fountains, and paths for walking and jogging provide guests young and old with a place to seek solitude with nature, or seek community and the company of others.
The Myriad Gardens also offers a variety of horticultural education programs for adults and children.
The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is 224 feet long, 70 feet in diameter, and is covered by 3,028 sections of translucent, double-layered acrylic panels. The Conservatory includes 13,000 square feet of plant display area featuring some 2,000 varieties of plants and a 35-foot waterfall.