Martin Luther King. An American story

Martin Luther King. An American story



Martin Luther King. An American story

with Alberto Annarilli and Elisa Biason

and with the participation of the choir
Voices of Grace - AMLAS

ROME - Saturday, March 19 at 5:00 p.m. at the Aula Magna of the Valdese Faculty of Theology (via Pietro Cossa, 40 - Rome) will be held Martin Luther King. An American Story, a concert lecture by Paolo Naso with Alberto Annarilli and Elisa Biason and with the participation of the choir Voices of Grace - AMLAS. 

In a compelling and passionate story, Naso reconstructs the story of Martin Luther King starting from his assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968. What was King doing in the Tennessee city? Why did one of the most prominent men in America in those years not enjoy any protection? Beyond the shooter, "what" killed King? How much did his firm opposition to the war in Vietnam weigh? How to judge his relations with the White House? And with the other components of the Civil Rights Movement, starting with Malcolm X and Black Power?

These are just some of the questions that the concert lecture tries to answer on the basis of a rigorous reconstruction of the facts. In the end, a portrait of King is outlined in many ways unprecedented: a man who, after reaching the pinnacle of success and consensus, suffered increasingly violent attacks especially when, in addition to racism, he began to denounce other evils of America: militarism, materialism, social injustice.

The story dwells on the most "radical" King, the one who is less known and celebrated and, for this reason, incompatible with the reassuring and harmless icon that the political establishment has made of him and an apologetic historiography that has ended up freezing King in the image of the umpteenth and solitary American hero. On the contrary, the story adopts the thesis of Ella Baker - one of King's first collaborators - according to whom "it was not Martin who created the movement but the movement that created King". And for this reason, his action must be placed within the framework of a broader and more articulated movement.

The ten songs proposed are not a simple musical aid but constitute a thread of the story that leads the viewer to share music and emotions of those years. The rhythms and words of the Negro spirituals performed, for example, integrate perfectly with the preaching, rhetoric and action of King and the Civil Rights Movement. On the other hand, in the years of protest marches and sit-ins, other "profane" musical genres were also asserting themselves, recovering the fight songs of the early 1900s, such as the well-known and famous We shall overcome. But they were also the years of protest songs against the war, signed by authors who marked an era: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary ...

The photos projected in the background, finally, constitute a third track of the story and illustrate the courage, creativity, hope, but also injustice and violence of those years.

Paolo Naso teaches Political Science at the Sapienza University of Rome and in the last twenty years has published several essays dedicated to the figure of King, the last of which is Martin Luther King. An American History (Laterza, 2021).
Alberto Annarilli is a doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Musician and choir director, he is the author of several essays on the theme of music in the Protestant tradition.
Elisa Biason has dedicated herself for many years to popular and social music, singing in various formations. She has participated in several national and international festivals.

The concert lesson has already been presented in Turin, Torre Pellice (TO), University of Rome Tor Vergata, Albano Laziale (RM). On April 4, the day of King's death, it will be repeated at the Waldensian Temple in Milan. A video produced by Radio Beckwith Evangelica will soon be available, and a podcast edition will be available.

We look forward to seeing you!

Access to the event is allowed only if provided with a reinforced green pass.