Cedaredge United Methodist Church will mark the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday with a showing of "Soundtrack for a Revolution," the acclaimed documentary produced by Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman and others. The film, which will be shown at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21 at the church, examines the importance of music during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The sit-ins and public demonstrations of the era incorporated protest songs, folk tunes and spirituals, music that was a crucial part of the movement. Guttentag uses archival footage and interviews to connect specific songs -- covered by artists including the Roots and John Legend -- to specific events, such as the Montgomery bus boycott.
The church's pastor, the Rev. Joe Agne, will lead a conversation following the film during which he'll share his experience as a campus civil-rights activist and organizer in the Chicago area in the 1960s. In its history of Dr. King's time in Chicago, the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute says on its website:
"Jan. 7, 1966, Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) announced plans for the Chicago Freedom Movement, a campaign that marked the expansion of their civil rights activities from the South to northern cities. King and his family moved to ... Chicago ... so that he could be closer to the movement."
The Chicago Campaign began in 1965 when Chicago civil rights groups invited King to lead a demonstration against de facto segregation in education, housing and employment. The Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO), convened by Chicago activist Albert Raby, asked SCLC to join them in a major nonviolent campaign geared specifically at achieving fair housing practices. The campaign gained momentum through demonstrations and marches. CCCO, a coalition of numerous organizations working for civil rights, included outreach to Chicago area colleges, including North Central College where Agne was a student. He was chosen to represent the college on the coordinating council, which meant he attended training sessions with Dr. King's staff to learn how students at the college and partner institution Evangelical Theological Seminary, both in Naperville, Ill., could be part of the movement for racial justice.
Agne led a contingent of more than 100 of the campus' 800 students that participated in training events, demonstrations, marches and protests. As part of his discussion of the film, Agne will lead those attending in singing songs he learned during these years including "We Shall Not Be Moved" and "Oh Freedom."
Much of Agne's ministry has been working for racial justice.
Plan now to remember Dr. King by viewing the documentary and joining the conversation at Cedaredge United Methodist Church.