Celebrate Martin Luther King’s Birthday

January 20th, 2014

10:00 am - 2:00 pm

WHS will celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a program on Jan. 20 for children aged 5 to 12 to learn about the civil rights leader and how he inspired a Westport artist to become involved in the battle for racial equality.

The program will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will also include yoga instruction, as well as an opportunity to engage in dramatic role play with actress Jennifer Devine from Westport’s Musical Theater Center.  Elizabeth DeVoll, the Westport Historical Society’s education director, will show the children how to make peace globes from ‘60s news articles and photos, peace symbols, friendship rings and hand-stitched samplers with peace quotations.

Tracy Sugarman, the Westport artist who was inspired by Dr. King, went on to write three books about his experiences in mid-1960s Mississippi, where young “Freedom Riders” from the North helped black Mississippians register to vote.

His widow, Gloria Cole Sugarman, will be the featured speaker at the Jan. 20 program. That day is also the first anniversary of Sugarman’s death, at age 91, at his Compo Beach home.  Gloria Sugarman said Tracy was present in 1964 when Dr. King spoke at Temple Israel in Westport and urged residents not to “sit out the revolution.”

Tracy, who would go to Mississippi and document the Freedom Summer of 1964 as a journalist and illustrator, later said that Dr. King “changed my life.”

Gloria Sugarman was herself a journalist and head of Westport’s World Affairs Centers, which sponsored human rights and anti-war activities. She and Tracy met at the World Affairs Center and married many years later.

A snack will be provided, but kids are asked to bring a lunch and wear stretchy clothes.

To register for the Martin Luther King Day program at the Westport Historical Society call (203) 222-1424. Cost:  $45 for members, $55 for non-members. Additional siblings are $10 off.