This year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration will take place onMonday, January 18. It will feature a walking tour of Florence’s historically significant sites by Steve Strimer of the David Ruggles Center; followed by a children’s program at 10:30 a.m. at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine Street). AFSC’s Annual Convocation will be held at 2 p.m. at Edwards Church in downtown Northampton. Following the convocation (approximately 4pm) a Black Lives Matter banner will be raised at City Hall, with speeches made by the mayor, city councilors, and others. Every event during the day is open to the public and free to all.

  • 9am: Sojourner Truth Walking Tour
  • 10:30am: Children’s Program
  • 10am: Doorknocking for Racial Justice!
  • 2pm: AFSC Convocation
  • (Approximately 4pm): Black Lives Matter Banner Raising

 9am: Sojourner Truth Walking Tour

Sojourner Truth Memorial Statue, Pine and Park Street, Florence

Steve Strimer of the David Ruggles Center will lead a walk of the African-American history trail in Florence. The tour will pass Sojourner Truth’s house, abolitionist sites and the site of the 19th century utopian community in Florence.  Steve will explain what brought a progressive group of people to Florence in the 19th century, how they influenced Florence’s development and what happened to those innovative and progressive people.

10:30am: Children’s Program

Florence Community Center, 140 Pine Street, Florence

Once again, a lively program – catered towards children – is being organized by Dr. Ousmane Power-Greene and others. Come and join parents and children as we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. There will be songs, stories, and activities that are geared for kids 10 and under. Please bring your own poems that inspire peace, justice, and equality.

10am at Edwards Church: Doorknocking for Racial Justice!

The Western Mass chapter of Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice, would like to invite you to a group door knocking event. We will first practice and then go out and talk with our neighbors in Northampton about Black Lives Matter. Another group will stay inside and participate in a facilitated dialogue about racial justice in our daily lives. Coffee, donuts, training and debriefing included.

2pm: AFSC Convocation

Edwards Church, 297 Main Street, Northampton

The American Friends Service Committee will hold its 32nd annual celebration of Dr. King with a presentation by Smith College students of their anti-racist work, an intergenerational conversation of activists from Black Lives Matter to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee of the 1960s, with heart-lifting music by Marcia Gomes! A number of “Black Lives Matter” yard signs will be distributed at the conclusion of the event.

(Approximately 4pm): Black Lives Matter Banner Raising

City Hall, 210 Main Street, Northampton

After the convocation, join the mayor, city councilors, and civic leaders to witness a “Black Lives Matter” banner being put up on City Hall! Join our community in affirming the importance of acknowledging and confronting racism!