Desmond-Fish Library Hosts MLK Jr. Programs on Jan. 19 and 20

The Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison presents its 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances: “Bringing the Dream Home: Civil Rights and the Hudson Valley,” with an adult speaker’s program and potluck supper Jan. 19, and a family program Jan. 20.

A.J. Williams-Myers

A.J. Williams-Myers

The MLK adult program was partly inspired by the memoir and 2013 film Twelve Years A Slave about the life of Solomon Northup of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Dr. A.J. Williams-Myers, professor of African American Studies at SUNY New Paltz, will speak on the social and economic contributions of African Americans to life along the Hudson since Dutch colonial times, relating it to King’s views on the importance of more accurate and inclusive history in the fight against racism.

Williams-Myers is the former director of the New York African American Institute and former chair of SUNY New Paltz’s Black Studies department. He is a leading expert and prolific author on the African American experience in New York and throughout the Americas.

April Armstrong

April Armstrong

His talk at 7 p.m. on Jan. 19, will be “about real people who lived in the valley along the mighty Hudson, and it speaks to Solomon Northup’s 12 years experience as a slave,” Williams-Myers says. “It fleshes out who those real people were as well as their role in fashioning the great bastion of freedom New York has become in the 21st century.”

His talk will be preceded by a free potluck supper at 6:30 p.m. Bringing food to share is welcome and optional.

At 2 p.m. on Monday Jan. 20, the library presents its MLK family program, featuring actress, singer and storyteller April Armstrong. Armstrong will present This Little Light of Mine: Walking for Freedom, A Journey to Justice and Hope. It’s a program of storytelling and music appropriate for all ages about Ruby Bridges, an African American child who was the first to attend and integrate a Southern all-white school.

Award-winning pianist and composer Alva Nelson will accompany her, and Cold Spring’s own storyteller Jonathan Kruk will emcee.

Events are free and open to the public. For more information, call 845-424-3020 or visit

Photos courtesy Desmond-Fish Library

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