Fifth-grade pupils of Brookwood Elementary School will remember Martin Luther King Jr. in song Thursday.
I Remember Martin Luther King Jr. is an annual musical performed by the students under the direction of music teacher Johnny Carr.
Carr purchased a book of the musical in the 1980s, when King's birthday was first honored as a national holiday.
However, much about the production has changed since it was first staged, Carr said.
"I've done it for 17 years," he said. "Each year we make modifications on it - improve it, change it around a little bit. This year, we added a new finale song."
Included in the musical, Carr said, are black spirituals, patriotic tunes and more contemporary fare.
Some of the featured songs include My Country Tis of Thee, Free at Last, I'm Going to Sing When the Spirit Says Sing and We are the World.
The musical will be staged at 2:15 and 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. It coincides with the pupil's lessons, Carr said.
"The play is part of a unit of study the fifth-grade teachers do in their classroom," he said.
"The theme is equality for all people, no matter what race, religion or what country they come from," Carr said. "We try to stress that with kids, because that's what the civil rights movement was about - everyone being treated equally. It's the same message Jesus said, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'"
The 1960s, when the civil rights movement took a foothold in American politics, was a time of turmoil for the country.
Carr said the musical focuses more on the results of the movement.
"The whole thing is a real uplifting play," he said. "It does not dwell on any of the negative parts of the civil rights movement. It dwells on everybody having a dream on what they would like to see happen in their life and for the country."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.