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Poets, Priests, Martyrs: Henry Dumas, Joseph Jarman, MLK

Harmony Holiday. Courtesy of the artist.

Poets, Priests, Martyrs: Henry Dumas, Joseph Jarman, MLK


The Black Radical tradition carries a legacy of artist-driven utopian visions that have taken the form of free schools, collectives, and informal think tanks wherein black artists of all genres across the diaspora endeavored to take control of knowledge production. Presented on the anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this program marks the first in a series of collaborations between MOCA and writer and artist Harmony Holiday titled “Return from Exile.” This edition will feature musician R.A.P.ferreira live alongside a recitation of poems by writer Henry Dumas (1934–68), who was killed by police in the same year that MLK was assassinated. Treating his poems as song and refrain, the evening will be a celebration of the poetics of return and his lasting influence on generations of musicians and thinkers. And in the spirit of Dr. King, a legendary recording of a Dumas poem read by the late jazz musician and composer Joseph Jarman (1937–2019), and a recording of a moving piece by drummer Max Roach made in King’s honor will be played.

Priority tickets are available to MOCA members at any time on the day of the program. Thirty minutes before the program begins tickets will be released to non-members. One ticket per person on a first come, first served basis. Early arrival is recommended.

To become a MOCA member, please contact the membership department at 213/621-1794 or