One Day for … Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now is the time

One Day for … Martin Luther King, Jr.. Documentation

© Greenpocket Bewegtbild / Berliner Festspiele

Past Dates

On 12 September 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr. landed on the runway of Berlin’s Tempelhof airport. On the occasion of the 14th Berliner Festwochen, which also provided the founding impulse for the Berliner Jazztage (a festival that still exists as Jazzfest Berlin today), a memorial for John F. Kennedy was held. In the summer of 1963, Kennedy – “Ich bin ein Berliner!” – had won the hearts of the divided city’s inhabitants; he was assassinated only a few months later. On 13 September 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in his memory at the Berlin Philharmonic. Later he gave a sermon in front of an audience of 20,000 at the Waldbühne and also spoke at Marienkirche and Sophienkirche in the Eastern part of the city.

To mark the 50th anniversary of his visit and this speech, the Berliner Festspiele, in cooperation with ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, celebrate “One Day for … Martin Luther King, Jr.” Together with artists, writers, students, activists and witnesses of this time, we will search for traces of this visit.

We will also explore how relevant the values which Martin Luther King, Jr. represented and lived by are for us today and how they influence current political education and the promotion of civil courage in our society.

The day will begin with a tour of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s traces in Berlin, either by bicycle or on foot. From 15:30, the Haus der Berliner Festspiele will open its doors and present an interplay of discussions and performances by Clayborne Carson, Grada Kilomba, Jocelyn B. Smith, Elke Naters, Philipp Ruch and the Label Noir theatre company. Exhibitions and a programme of films will set out leads which will be brought together onstage in the evening: With Denys Baptiste’s concert performance “Now Is the Time – Let Freedom Ring!”, we will celebrate both the 50th anniversary of this historic visit and the 50th edition of Jazzfest Berlin, which is dedicating a festival focus to Martin Luther King this year.


Discussions, performances and music Upper Foyer
16:00: “Martin Luther King, Jr. in the US: Yes, we can! – Mission accomplished?”
Keynote by Clayborne Carson (in English)

16:30: Jocelyn B. Smith, “Soul Message”, piano and vocals

17:00: “Where are we now? – Berlin 2014”
Panel with Saraya Gomis (King Code), Elke Naters (Sharehaus), Philipp Ruch (Zentrum für Politische Schönheit) and Roland Stolte (Marienkirche)
Moderation: Natasha A. Kelly
With film clips and short theatre scenes from “Heimat, bittersüße Heimat” and “Satoe” by Label Noir

18:15: “Challenges ahead in a globalized world: facing the future”
Excerpts from the play reading “Plantation Memories” by Grada Kilomba
Dialogue between Clayborne Carson and Grada Kilomba (in English)

Jazzfest Berlin Kassenhalle
18:00: Artistic director Bert Noglik presents the programme of the Berlin Jazz Festival 2014.

Closing concert Main Stage
20:00: “Now Is the Time – Let Freedom Ring!”
Concert and audiovisual performance by Denys Baptiste
In cooperation with Jazzfest Berlin

• The King Code Exhibition: Martin Luther King, Jr. @ Berlin 1964–2014
• EDEWA – Einkaufsgenossenschaft Antirassistischen Widerstands
• “Aus dem Fels der Verzweiflung einen Stein der Hoffnung hauen” – Martin Luther King und die DDR (touring exhibition of the Martin-Luther-King-Zentrum Werdau)
• Each One Teach One e.V. (book table)

• “King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery to Memphis”
(USA 1970, directed by Sidney Lumet, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, production: Ely Landau)
• “Der King Code. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Berlin” (Germany 2014, directed by Andreas Kuno Richter, production: EIKON Nord Filmproduktion)

An event of Berliner Festspiele in cooperation with ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius