Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner - January 15, 2018

Guest Speaker: J. Chester Johnson, poet, essayist, translator andSpoken Word Artists: Baba Israel (Baba) & Kirakos Prodist (Yako)

J. Chester Johnson will discuss his writings on civil rights with particular attention to the importance of the 1919 Elaine Race Massacre, which occurred in rural SE Arkansas along the Mississippi River Delta and which has proven to be one of the most murderous attacks against African-Americans in our country’s history. Out of the Elaine Massacre also evolved the legal case, Moore v. Dempsey, for which the U. S. Supreme in 1923 ruled, for the first time, that the Federal Government had an obligation to protect the individual civil rights of its citizens in accordance with the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Mr. Johnson will also discuss his personal and familial associations with the Massacre, including his own efforts toward generational and racial reconciliation.


Baba and Yako of Soul Inscribed are NYC based performers, educators dedicated to being ‘cultural ambassadors’. They were the first artists to participate in the E HIP-HOP Mass for the Episcopal Church, which began at St. Mark’s in 2002. Their music/ spoken word is a blend of HIP-HOP poetics, jazz, funk and dub music with soulful vocals. In 2017 Soul Inscribed received a Fullbright grant to perform and lead workshops through the US Embassy. In 2016 Soul Inscribed was also selected to participate in the State Department’s “American Music Abroad” program. Their self-titled recording is available online and features remixes from DJ Kiva, Dan West and New Zealand’s legendary DJ and Producer, P-Money.

UncategorizedJay Johnson