Martin Luther King’s The Drum Major Instinct

A dramatic reading by actor Samira Wiley of Dr. King's sermon, The Drum Major Instinct

Martin Luther King’s The Drum Major Instinct

Brooklyn Public Library | Park Slope

A dramatic reading by acclaimed actor Samira Wiley of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon delivered on February 4, 1968, The Drum Major Instinct, will be held at the Central Library of the Brooklyn Public Library on the 50th anniversary on Sunday, February 4, 2018.

The Drum Major Instinct is a powerful, cautionary speech about the impulse in all humans to be "out front" and recognized as leaders, often for self-aggrandizing purposes rather than a sense of service to others.

Following the reading is a town hall-style dialogue about racism, inequality, and social justice, fostering compassion, understanding, and positive action. Accompanied by original and arranged music composed and conducted by Phil Woodmore, featuring a choir of diverse singers, including police officers and their spouses, teachers, activists, and members of the faith community from St. Louis, Missouri. Directed and facilitated by Bryan Doerries, Public Artist in Residence (PAIR), City of New York.



Samira Wiley is an American actress and model best known for playing Poussey Washington in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black.

Wiley was raised in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of Burgundy Farm Country Day School and The Juilliard School. Her parents, Christine and Dennis W. Wiley, are the co-pastors of Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ. Wiley’s parents have been referred to as “pillars of the LGBT religious community. “As the covenant Baptist Church was the only Baptist Church in Washington D.C. performing same-sex unions in 2007. She has two siblings: Aiyana Kai Ma’at and Joshua Wiley. Wiley studied drama at the Juilliard School in New York and graduated in 2010.

She trained in theater performance and worked mainly in theater in her early career.




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