MLK Day Celebration

Annual Celebration of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Concert Hall,
Aaron Copland School of Music

The Black National Anthem

“Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet

Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears have been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,

Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, Our God, where we met Thee;
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;

Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand.

True to our GOD,

True to our native land

By James Weldon Johnson
(June 17, 1871 – June 26, 1938)

Originally written by Johnson for a presentation in celebration of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. This was originally performed in Jacksonville, Florida, by children.

Vocalist – Aisayma Lennard, Admissions Counselor

Pianist – Nathan Ferraz

Keynote and Honoree

Jelani Cobb is the Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism and has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2012 and became a staff writer in 2015. He writes frequently about race, politics, history, and culture.   He won the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, for his columns on race, the police, and injustice.

He is the author of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress as well as To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic. His articles and essays have appeared in the Washington Post, The New Republic, Essence, Vibe, The Progressive, and His collection The Devil and Dave Chappelle and Other Essays was published in 2007. He has also contributed to a number of anthologies including In Defense of Mumia, Testimony, Mending the World and Beats, Rhymes and Life.

Dr. Cobb is awarded with a piece created by Valesca La France – Queens College ‘23

This painting, an acrylic base with oil cover, is called “De Leur Mère à La Mer”. The piece was created at the time of the protest for Black Lives Matter and was the artists way of participating in the BLM movement. venuscreativeartstudio


Musical Performance by two time Grammy-nominated Jazz Artist – Samara Joy

Nominated for two Grammys 2023, including best new artist and best jazz vocal album, Samara Joy’s velvety, smooth voice puts her own enchanting interpretation on jazz standards from the Great American Songbook. After winning the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition at the age of 19, she released her debut album Samara Joy. One of the most promising young vocalists, she has already performed in many of the great jazz venues in New York City and beyond, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Blue Note, and the Apollo Theatre. On her most recent release, Linger Awhile (Verve Records), the 22-year-old makes her case to join the likes of Sarah, Ella, and Billie as the next jazz singing sensation.

Her rich and ageless voice has already earned her fans like Anita Baker and Regina King, appearances on the TODAY Show and millions of likes on TikTok — cementing her status as perhaps the first Gen Z jazz singing star.



President Frank H. Wu
Queens College

Greetings Student

Jamal Mark ‘23

Queens College Student Association President


Greetings Student

Makayla Noble
QC Black Student Union President
Students for SA

Past Videos

The Legacy Connection: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Queens College



Queens College's Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration