Wynton Marsalis to join Bethany Baptist, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Celebration

NEWARK, NJ (January 7, 2019) — Noted, life long social activist, Dr. Obery Hendricks, Jr. will deliver the keynote address at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. day celebration at Bethany Baptist Church, 275 West Market Street, Newark, NJ on January 20, 2019 at 2:30PM. Reverend Timothy L. Adkins-Jones is excited to welcome a “preacher-scholar of his caliber to our pulpit…No doubt that he will bring a poignant, powerful and prophetic message rooted in scholarship and the faith that will ignite our collective imaginations as we press forward with seeing King’s dream become reality.”

Dr. King spoke of the power of music, specifically, jazz, as integral to the struggle and survival of “American Negroes”, he said, “Jazz speaks for life.” Jazz and democracy are based on the same principles. World-renowned, trumpeter, bandleader, composer and the Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis, will read excerpts, of his choosing, from various King speeches. Jackie Harris, president of the Lecture Committee, stated; “Wynton is a cultural ambassador, known humanitarian who is a student of King and his work.

Music will be provided by the Bethany Baptist Church Choir under the direction of Minister Rev. Karlos Nichols and Charisa, The ViolinDiva.


Wynton Marsalis will read experts from various speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., Ph.D., Keynote Speaker

Music, Bethany Baptist Church Choir under the direction of Rev. Karlos Nichols and Charisa, The ViolinDiva


Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., Ph.D.

Widely sought lecturer and media spokesperson, Dr. Hendricks’ appearances include CNN, CBS, Fox News, Fox Business News, the Discovery Channel, PBS, BBC, NHK Japan Television and the Bloomberg Network. Hendricks’ bestselling book, The Politics of Jesus**: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted (Doubleday, 2006), was declared “essential reading for Americans” by the Washington Post. Social commentator Michael Eric Dyson proclaimed it “an instant classic” that “immediately thrusts Hendricks into the front ranks of American religious thinkers.” The Politics of Jesus was the featured subject of the 90-minute C-SPAN special hosted by the Center for American Progress, “Class, Politics and Christianity.” Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Governor Howard Dean has pronounced his most recent book, The Universe Bends Toward Justice: Radical Reflections on the Bible, the Church and the Body Politic (Orbis, 2011), a “tour de force.” He is currently a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in the Department of Religion and the Institute for Research in African American Studies; a Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary, and Emeritus Professor of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary. An Ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Hendricks holds the Master of Divinity with academic honors from Princeton Theological Seminary, and both the M.A. and Ph.D. in Religions of Late Antiquity from Princeton University.

Wynton Marsalis

The Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and a world-renowned trumpeter, bandleader and composer. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961, Marsalis began his classical training on trumpet at age 12, entered The Juilliard School at age 17, and soon after joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He made his recording debut as a leader in 1982, and has since recorded more than 80 jazz and classical recordings, which have won him nine GRAMMY® awards and sold over 7 million copies worldwide. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz GRAMMYs® in the same year, repeating the distinction the following year. Today Wynton is the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards® in five consecutive years (1983-1987). He helped lead the effort to construct Jazz at Lincoln Center’s home — Frederick P. Rose Hall — the first education, performance, and broadcast facility devoted to jazz, which opened its doors in October 2004. It is his commitment to the improvement of life for all people that portrays the best of his character and humanity.

Rev. Karlos Nichols

Karlos Nichols is a young, multi-talented preacher, singer, director, musician, songwriter, educator and clinician. Born in Memphis, TN, Rev. Nichols is an Alumnus of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City where he received certification in Musical Theatre Performance Technique. He also holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree from The New School University of New York City and a Masters of Science Degree in Education from Walden University. Rev. Nichols is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts Degree in Preaching, Arts, and Worship from Union Theological Seminary in NY.

Charisa the ViolinDiva

Charisa Rouse, soul jazz violinist and vocalist has devoted her career to challenging every preconception of what the violin (and violinist!) can accomplish in contemporary music. Classically trained, her diversity has allowed her to travel the world, recording and performing alongside such artists as Kim Burrell, Cyndi Lauper, William McDowell, Diana Krall, and Quincy Jones, to name a few. More than just a performer, Charisa fundamentally recognizes the importance of string programs in American public schools as an active educator. She has developed “the New Urban Strings Curriculum” targeted at reaching young minority string players; a curriculum which she uses regularly in the two NYC public school programs she founded a decade ago, reaching 200 black and Latino students annually. Charisa is a native of Washington DC where she acquired a Bachelor and Master Degree.

For more information about this program, visit the Bethany Baptist website:

*It shall be the mission of the Lecture Committee to provide a forum to engage the church and community at large on matters it deems of interest for the betterment of our community. Pursuant to our Christian commitment of outreach, we propose to inform, educate, inspire and participate in matters of public policy; including but not limited to matters which are social, political, economic, religious, or educational.

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