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By Jordan Gass-Poore : January 9, 2014

The DreamWeek summit, San Antonio’s celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., opens Friday, the start of a multitude of events that will take place during this year’s 12-day homage to America’s greatest civil rights leader.

For those too young to have witnessed the “Great March on Washington” on Aug. 27-28, 1963, when hundreds of thousands of Americans assembled peacefully on the National Mall before the Lincoln Memorial, you can watch and listen to King’s inspiring “I Have a Dream” speech by clicking here. King’s speech was seen by many as a the catalyst for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, many of the events that subsequently unfolded in the South, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, both signed into law by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson.

San Antonio's MLK Day March started in 1987 and is now the largest in the United States. For years VIA has provided extra routes to and from the march. Photo by Lindsay Ratcliffe.

San Antonio’s MLK Day March started in 1987 and is now the largest in the United States. For years VIA has provided extra routes to and from the march.
Photo by Lindsay Ratcliffe.

King, assassinated less than five years later on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, would be amazed and more than a little pleased to witness San Antonio’s 21st century multimedia celebration of civil rights through art exhibits, social mixers, public readings, lectures and film screenings in and near downtown San Antonio. The second annual summit is, in effect, a realization of King’s dream to promote an open and civil exchange of ideas on diversity, tolerance and equality.

San Antonio’s MLK Day March started in 1987 and is now the largest in the United States. For years VIA has provided extra routes to and from the march. Photo by Lindsay Ratcliffe.

The San Antonio Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission works in conjunction with DreamWeek to promote these events that culminate with the annual MLK March, which takes place Monday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m., starting at the MLK Academy, in the 3500 block of MLK Drive and ends at Pittman-Sullivan Park, 1101 Iowa (click here for march route and info).

Touted as the nation’s largest MLK March, with an estimated 100,000 in attendance each year, San Antonio’s annual march began as a simple annual procession shortly after King’s death, started by the late Rev. Raymond “R.A.” Callies, Sr., a former teacher and pastor who worked tirelessly toward having a statue of King erected in San Antonio.

In 1986, then-Mayor Henry Cisneros and City Council passed a resolution creating the San Antonio Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, and in 1987 the first official city MLK Parade was organized by Commission Chairwoman Aaronetta Pierce, the commission and the City. The theme of this year’s 27th annual city-sponsored MLK March is “Realizing The Dream: Jobs, Justice and Freedom.”

A full listing of DreamWeek 2014 events can be found at

DreamVoice President Shokare Nakpodia

DreamVoice President Shokare Nakpodia

Opening Ceremony: 

7:30 a.m., Jan. 10, St. Paul Square (1148 E. Commerce, Ste. 200)

This breakfast kicks off DreamWeek’s 12-day summit. Opening remarks by Shokare Nakpodia, founding partner and creative director of the local communications agency The Mighty Group. Guest speakers include Bishop David Copeland and Councilwoman Ivy Taylor.

San Antonio Museum of Art Party:

6-10 p.m., Jan. 10, San Antonio Museum of Art (200 W. Jones Ave.)

SAMA partners with DreamWeek, LOOP SA and KRTU Jazz 91.7 FM for its bimonthly Art Party. Each event pairs a particular aspect of the museum’s art with a complimentary musical genre and specialty cocktail.

The San Antonio Ivy Educational Fund Dinner:

6-10 p.m., Jan. 10, Incarnate Word’s Rosenberg Sky Room (847 E. Hildebrand)

Michael Eric Dyson, author of “April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Death and How it Changed America,” will be the guest speaker for this dinner, hosted by the San Antonio Ivy Educational Fund, Inc. Money raised will help fund this nonprofit organization’s charitable services to the community. Purchase tickets online.

2nd Verse:

9 p.m.-midnight, Jan. 10, Continental Cafe (6390 Fairdale Dr.)

Spoken word poetry will be performed at 2nd Verse, hosted by San Antonio-based DJs Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson and Glo. The public is encouraged to participate.

Inaugural Baby Greg, III Foundation 5K Run/Walk

8 a.m.-noon, Jan. 11, McAllister Park (13102 Jones Maltsberger)

This event, open to people ages 16 years and older, benefits the research of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and assists families affected by the diagnosis with funeral expenses and medical bills, as well as the cost and search for grief support groups and professional counseling centers. Individual and volunteer registration is required online.

MLK Oratorical Contest:

10 a.m., Jan. 11, The Carver Center (226 N. Hackberry)

Sponsored by the San Antonio National Pan Hellenic Council, this oratorical contest features middle and high school students who will be presenting speeches on “Why Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Believed Education Excellence Affects One’s Future Freedoms” for awards and prizes.

Nevil Shed United Basketball Tournament:

10 a.m.-3 p.m., Jan. 11, Antioch Sports Complex (314 Eross St.)

Participation in this tournament, which honors Nevil Shed, a member of the first all African-American team to play the NCAA Championship, is open to religious organizations and affiliates. Five-person teams will play in a single-elimination-style tournament that is free to the public. Team registration is required.

Through The Eyes of Artists Educator Workshop: 

10 a.m.-4 p.m., Jan. 11, San Antonio Museum of Art

This workshop, “Reflection: Opportunities and Challenges of Educators in Transforming Student’s Perceptions on Diversity and Inclusion,” promotes a round-table discussion with panelists David Rubin, The Brown Foundation curator of contemporary art at SAMA, Miguel Cortinas, associate professor of art at the University of the Incarnate Word, and Shokare Nakpodia. Lunch and exhibition tours will also be offered, as well as an interactive African dance and drumming performance. Registration is required.

San Antonio Children’s Museum Reading and Workshop:

1:30-4 p.m., Jan. 11, San Antonio Children’s Museum (305 E. Houston)

The first Poet Laureate of San Antonio and author Carmen Tafolla will read from her bilingual children’s book, “That’s Not Fair!: Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice,” about the former union organizer who was instrumental in the 1938 Pecan Shellers Strike. The reading will serve as the inspiration for age-appropriate writing activities. These creative insights will be on display at the museum for the duration of DreamWeek.

Canvas: A Pop-Up Wine Gallery and Art Bar:

3-11 p.m., Jan. 11, Vinously Speaking (140 E. Houston)

Peruse and purchase local art, participate in wine education classes and tastings and listen to musical performances and DJs.

Great Books Seminar:

5-7 p.m., Jan. 11, San Antonio Museum of Art

Hosted by the Symposium Great Books Institute, a San Antonio-based nonprofit, this event provides an opportunity to discuss Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Slavery by Another Name.”

DreamWeek Youth Soccer Clinic:

1-4 p.m., Jan. 12, Wheatley Sports Complex (1023 Upland)

This clinic is free for boys and girls between the ages of 4-16. There will be workshops for different age groups and skill levels.

Baptist Ministers Union MLK Worship Service:

5 p.m., Jan. 12, Mount Sinai Baptist Church (2157 Burnet St.)

This service will feature guest speaker Rev. Isadore Edwards, Jr. of New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church of Fort Worth.

JFK in SA Exhibit:

noon-5 p.m., Jan. 12, Witte Museum (3801 Broadway)

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of former President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the Witte Museum will again display the lectern and other artifacts he used on his final visit to San Antonio. Original photos, copies of the official “Cap Over The Wall” speech, leather chairs used by Kennedy and former Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson, among others, the film of Kennedy’s speech and other archival material.

“The Loving Story” Documentary Film Screening:

6:30-8 p.m., Jan. 14, San Antonio Museum of Art

As part of DreamWeek, the San Antonio Museum of Art presents the documentary “The Loving Story” for free. When Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested in July 1958, in Virginia, for violating a state law that banned marriage between people of different races, such laws had been on the books in most states since the 17th century. But the Lovings never expected to be awakened in their bedroom in the middle of the night and arrested. This documentary brings to life the Lovings’ marriage and the legal battle that followed through little-known filmed interviews and photographs shot for Life magazine.

PuroSlam Poetry Night:

10 p.m., Jan. 14, Southtown 101 (101 Pereida)

All styles and subjects of spoken word are welcome.

MLK Art Exhibit:

6-8 p.m., Jan. 14, The Carver Center

The opening reception of this exhibit, which will run until March 3, that celebrates the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by members of the San Antonio Ethnic Art Society.

MLK Commission Recognition: 

5 p.m., Jan. 15, City Council Chambers (Municipal Plaza Bldg., 114 W. Commerce)

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will receive a proclamation in honor of their service and continued dedication to hosting one of the most successful MLK marches in the nation.

“Las Marthas” Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion:

6:30 p.m., Jan. Jan. 16, Santikos Embassy 14 (13707 Embassy Row)

A free preview screening of the documentary “Las Marthas,” about Mexican-American debutantes in Laredo, home to one of the largest celebrations of George Washington’s birthday in the world.

MLK Commemorative Lecture Series:

7:30-9 p.m., Jan. 16, Laurie Auditorium (1 Trinity Place)

Economist, author and commentator Julianne Malveaux, who is the president and CEO of Last Word Productions, Inc., will be the guest speaker at this year’s free MLK Commemorative Lecture Series.

Fresh Ink Youth Slam:

7:30 p.m., Jan. 17, Deco Pizzeria (1815 Fredericksburg Rd.)

This event is free and open to the public, but participants must be at least 21 years old.

“The Mountaintop” Play Premiere:

8 p.m., Jan. 17, The Carver Center

“The Mountaintop” is a fictional depiction of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last night; set entirely in Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel on the eve of his assassination on April 4, 1968. After delivering one of his most memorable speeches, an exhausted Dr. King retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel while a storm rages outside. The play is produced by local theater company The Renaissance Guild.

MLK Breakfast:

9 a.m., Jan. 18, Airport Hilton Hotel (611 NW Loop 410)

Former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros will be the guest speaker at this year’s breakfast. Reservations are required.

MLK Youth Empowerment Summit:

9 a.m.-4 p.m., Jan. 18 at the St. Phillip’s Fine Arts Building (1801 Martin Luther King Dr.)

The San Antonio MLK Commission will host this free, all-day event that’s designed to educate youth of all ages on pertinent social issues. Activities include educational workshops on a variety of topics, like poetry, leadership and public service, a robotics session by Rackspace and a performance by reggae artist Sean Paul. Registration is required online.

City Year’s MLK Day of Service:

9 a.m.-4 p.m., Jan. 18, citywide

City Year San Antonio Corps members and community volunteers will be participating in a variety of service projects along the local MLK March route.

“Freedom Riders” Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion:

3-7 p.m., Jan. 18, San Antonio Museum of Art

This documentary offers an inside look at the Freedom Riders of 1961, a band of activists who challenged segregation in the Deep South. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and reception with four of the riders: Jesse James Davis, Hezekiah Watkins, Delores Lynch and Hank Thomas. Space is limited — first come, first served.

San Antonio Northwest Civic and Social Club’s Annual Dinner:

6 p.m., Jan. 18, Lackland Gateway Club (1650 Kenly Ave.)

This year’s guest speaker will be the Hon. Frank D. Jackson, mayor of Prairie View.

MLK Musical Extravaganza and Fundraiser:

7 p.m., Jan. 18, New Creation Fellowship (8700 Fourwinds Dr.)

The San Antonio MLK Commission hosts this annual event, which supports the events that honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony:

2 p.m., Jan. 19, Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza (Intersection of East Houston and North New Braunfels)

This event brings the community together to lay wreaths at the local MLK statue to honor the man behind the legacy. This year’s guest speaker is Jim Wyatt, president of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce.

MLK Early Worship and Commemorative Program:

9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Jan. 20, Pittman-Sullivan Park (1101 Iowa St.)

Those who are unable to attend the MLK March are invited to attend a morning of music and spirituality. A special screening of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and the “I have a Dream” speech will also take place during the event. Guest speakers include Sharrell Kemp, Lisa Duhart, Rev. Dan Walker and Larry Thompson, among others.

MLK March:

10-11:30 a.m., Jan. 20, MLK Jr. Academy (3501 Martin Luther King Dr.)

Participate in one of the nation’s largest MLK marches. The 2.75-mile walk ends at Pittman-Sullivan Park (1101 Iowa St.). People are encouraged to bring banners.

 DreamWeek Closing Party:

5:30-9:30 p.m., Jan. 21, The Carver Center

Join the DreamWeek team and partners in celebrating the second annual summit with drinks, food and music.

Jordan Gass-Poore’ is an English/mass communication senior at Texas State University- San Marcos. Her previous and current intern experience includes the New Braunfels Herald-ZeitungThe Austin ChronicleSlackerwood and the Austin American-Statesman, among others. Contact Jordan via or follow her on Twitter@jgasspoore.