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Performance Intermingles Spoken Word and Gospel, Jazz, and Blues Music

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal’.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Vocalists and musicians from the Philadelphia Jazz Project return to the Museum of the American Revolution to present “We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration” on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, from 3 – 4 p.m., as part of a weekend-long celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Utilizing excerpts from King’s speeches and sermons as inspiration and a combination of gospel, jazz, and blues music, the intermingling of spoken word, vocals, and instrumentals will pay tribute to one of America’s greatest citizens and thinkers. The performance is included with regular Museum admission.

“This special performance is part of a weekend-long celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his legacy. and the service he and so many others have given – and continue to give – to advance civil rights for all,” said Dr. Elizabeth Grant, the Museum’s Director of Learning and Engagement. “Dr. King was committed to ensuring the American Revolution’s promise of freedom for all people,” At the Museum of the American Revolution, we understand that his work to ensure equal rights continues today, and each of us has a role to play in seeing it through.”

Throughout Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend from Saturday, Jan. 18. – Sunday, Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Monday, Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., visitors can celebrate the diverse cultural landscape of Revolutionary Philadelphia through special programs and activities.

Special activities and programs about people of African descent include:

  • At a Discovery Cart from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. throughout the long weekend, visitors can learn about the life of James Forten, a free African American who volunteered aboard a privateer ship to fight the British Navy when he was only 14 years old. He later became a prominent abolitionist and wealthy Philadelphia businessman.
  • At 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, visitors can read and discuss a poem by Phillis Wheatley, America’s first published black female poet, which will take place in the Liberty Tree gallery alongside a signed copy of Wheatley’s book.
  • During 30-minute “Tableau Talks” within the Museum’s galleries at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Monday, visitors will learn the stories of both free and enslaved people of African descent who fought for freedom during the Revolutionary War.

At a Community Engagement Wall, visitors can tell us how they will create change in their communities and #BeTheRevolution. For inspiration, they can draw a take a card exploring ways to start a Revolution by volunteering, contributing to a cause, or buying local.

Looking ahead, the Museum’s Black History Month programs will include a Black History Untold-themed History After Hours event on Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 5 – 8 p.m. and Read the Revolution with Vincent Brown, Harvard University’s Charles Warren Professor of American History and Professor of African and American Studies, discussing his new book Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War (Belknap Press, January 2020) on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m.

Throughout the year, the Museum is committed to telling the stories of the diverse range of people who fought for freedom – their own or the nation’s – during the American Revolution. In the Museum’s core galleries, visitors will learn about Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, an enslaved woman who sued for her freedom and won; London Pleasants, an enslaved African American teenager who ran away and joined Benedict Arnold’s British American Legion as a trumpeter; Deborah Squash, who ran away from Mount Vernon and sought protection with the British Army; and many others. Printed gallery guides highlighting the stories of free and enslaved people of African descent are available at the front desk.

Philadelphia Jazz Project performers will include:

Kareem Idris - vocals
Toby VEnT Martin – vocals
V. Shayne Frederick – vocals
Kendrah Butler-Waters - piano & vocals
Jocko McNelly - bass & guitar
Kimpedro Rodriguez - drums

About Philadelphia Jazz Project
Philadelphia Jazz Project (PJP) is a special initiative which works to inspire a network to support, promote, archive and celebrate the diverse elements within the Philadelphia jazz community, with the larger goal of connecting to the global community. PJP’s mission is to expand the audience, increase creative opportunities and to extend the conversation about the music through special events, that preset a diverse and intergenerational picture of the Philadelphia Jazz communities. For more information, visit

About Museum of the American Revolution

The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit or call 877.740.1776.