Angel Island Insight #8: Megan & Chris Wong

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.

MEGAN and CHRIS WONG’s grandfathers were held in the Angel Island Immigration Station barracks. In 1929, Edmund Fong (Gung Gung) arrived in the belly of his mother Wun Shee Fong, who was five months pregnant. Gew Thet Wong (Ye Ye) arrived on Angel Island in 1931.

In 2021, the siblings offer their behind-the-scenes portrait of Beloved Community for Angel Island Insight.

Angel Island Insight. Directed and Edited by Chris Wong. 2021.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #7: Heather Knight

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.


What a beautiful day in the bay. Took the ferry to Angel Island and hiked to the top. Back to work Monday. Sounds like there’s plenty to write about. 😉 #TotalSF

HEATHER KNIGHT 5:41 PM · Apr 2, 2021·Twitter for iPhone


Heather Knight is a columnist working out of City Hall and covering everything from politics to homelessness to family flight and the quirks of living in one of the most fascinating cities in the world. She believes in holding politicians accountable for their decisions or, often, lack thereof – and telling the stories of real people and their struggles.

She co-hosts the Chronicle’s TotalSF podcast and co-founded its #TotalSF program to celebrate the wonder and whimsy of San Francisco.

Two decades ago, Heather visited Angel Island and following a group of students visiting the Immigration Barracks on a field trip.

“About 47,000 Bay Area students — ranging from fourth grade to college — take the Angel Island tour every year, said Ellen Loring, volunteer coordinator for the Angel Island Association. Weekday field trips are booked solid through June.

Cap Wilhelm-Safian, who teaches English and history at River Glen, a Spanish immersion school for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, said he’s taken students to Angel Island for six years.

“I find with students that to actually experience something and be in the place, it brings it home,” he said. “It’s important for them to understand that everybody in this country is an immigrant. It expands their sense of community beyond the school.”

Kids Learn Angel Island Not Always Heavenly by Heather Knight, Chronicle Staff Writer, Jan. 26, 2001.

Today, in 2021, ferry service from San Francisco to Angel Island is in question. Facing declining ridership, increased operating costs and plummeting revenues even before the pandemic, Blue & Gold Fleet submitted a request to the California Public Utilities Commission to discontinue passenger trips from The City to both Angel Island and Tiburon. “We just strongly believe there has to be direct service from San Francisco to Angel Island. “Not having that is similar to not having direct service from Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty,” says Ed Tepporn, Executive Director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation.

The CPUC values your input. Submit your public comment HERE.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #6: Mark Shigenaga

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.


Although photography had always been a casual interest of mine, it wasn’t until 2008, when capturing the energy and joyful expressions of the dancers at the Berkeley Obon, did I realize my passion for this activity. It is through this continued pursuit of photography that I have connected to many local ethnic communities, deepened an interest in my Japanese American heritage, and engaged many culturally active artists, activists, and historians.  While my photographic style continues to evolve, I’m most inspired by images that portray the vibrancy and soul of our collective communities, whether through the sharing of various art forms, celebrations, or remembrances.

MARK SHIGENAGA, Community Photographer


Photo: Mark Shigenaga. Filming day on Angel Island with Claudia Katanayagi for A Bitter Legacy, 2012.
Mark Shigenaga

In 2014, I helped photo document the 1st Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage, an event sponsored by the Nichi Bei Foundation, with AIISF, the National Japanese American Historical Society, California Genealogical Society, and the California Park Services as partners.  It was during this pilgrimage that I met Grant Din.  A chance discussion subsequently led to an exploration of my grandfather Kakuro and great uncle Shigeo’s history on this island, who were shipped from Hawaii to California and destined to become interned at various Department of Justice camps a few months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Grant’s access to the National Archives and Records Administration led to a wealth of new insights to the journeys of the Shigenaga brothers, and are, today, cherished by our family. 

— Mark Shigenaga, May 18, 2021.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #4: Imogen Cunningham

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.


“The formula for doing a good job in photography is to think like a poet”

— Imogen Cunningham


IMOGEN CUNNINGHAM (April 12, 1883 – June 23, 1976) was an American photographer known for her botanical photography, nudes, and industrial landscapes. Cunningham was a member of the California-based Group f/64, known for its dedication to the sharp-focus rendition of simple subjects.

“Angel Island, 1952” by Imogen Cunningham depicts a young man at the San Francisco ferry landing.

Imogen Cunningham. Angel Island, 1952. © 2021 Imogen Cunningham Trust

When we wrote to the Cunningham Estate to request permission to share this photo, we enjoyed the exchange with her granddaughter Meg Partridge. Meg spoke of Imogen’s friendship with photographer Benjamen Chinn, a relation to Lenore Chinn.

Meg also fondly recalled her grandmother Imogen’s special relationship with artist Ruth Asawa.

As the Asawa family notes on their website, “Beginning in the 1950s and until she died in 1976, Imogen Cunningham was a close personal friend. Many of Imogen’s photographs document Ruth’s early work and family life.”

When artist LILLI LANIER shared a lithograph that she made in college of her great grandmother Haru Asawa, drawn from a photograph taken by Imogen in 1966, we were delighted. Haru Yasuda came through Angel Island when she immigrated to the United States to marry Umakichi Asawa.

It is a special pleasure to link generations of artists through this special project.

Lilli Lanier. Haru (after Haru Asawa, 1966, by Imogen Cunningham). Lithograph on paper. 2006.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #3: Lenore Chinn

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.

Photo: Lenore Chinn. Angel Island Immigration Station Dedication Ceremony for The Immigrant Heritage Wall. July 23, 2011. 
Photo: Lenore Chinn. Angel Island Immigration Station Dedication Ceremony for The Immigrant Heritage Wall. July 23, 2011. 

“Quite a few years ago I was with Flo Oy Wong and family during a 2000 opening of her art exhibit, made in usa: Angel Island Shhh at the Angel Island Immigration Station.

I couldn’t find any image files from that far back. But today I came across a set I had taken years later on the occasion of a dedication there on July 23, 2011. Again, I was there with Flo and family and quite a few notables from our Chinese American community, like Buck Gee, Board President of AIISF, musician Frances Wong and photographer Frank Jang. Historian Judy Yung, who died last month, was in attendance.”

— Lenore Chinn, January 17, 2021


Lenore Chinn
by Mia Nakano, ©Visibility Project. https://www.visibilityproject.org/

LENORE CHINN

I am a San Francisco based artist who focuses on the depiction of a wide spectrum of people in all their diversity and color.

Portraiture is at the core of my visual art practice whether it is painting or photography – both are employed in my creative process.

A moment in time spontaneously captured by my digital bridge camera, transmitted to acrylic on canvas, conveyed in modern archival print or Shared on Facebook, these images document everyday life.

As a body of work they are visual narratives that constitute an art history largely hidden from the public’s perception of society and our particular collective experience.

My focus as a photographer is capturing images and documenting cultural landscapes from a painter’s point of view.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #2 : Lai Yong

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.


“Lai Yong exhibits two portraits—tolerably good, but rather Chinese in style.”

San Francisco Chronicle, Mechanics’ Institute Fair. Ninth Day. Art Matters—Attendance—Receipts—Programme of Music for This Evening. September 24, 1869, page 3.


LAI YONG, according to historians, was the first known Chinese artist in California; his studio is listed in San Francisco directories as early as 1867, though his only surviving painting, dated 1870, is a portrait of future San Francisco Mayor Adolph Sutro, symbolic of his remarkable success in the white community, considering the restrictive social environment of the time. He was not timid about attacking racist treatment of his people, co-authoring an 1873 pamphlet, “The Chinese Question from a Chinese Standpoint”, read, in translation, to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and even featured in an article in the New York Times. Yong was also a notable photographer, his photos of Chinese subjects appearing at a Mechanics Institute exhibition in 1869, about the time that he opened his Washington Street studio. Historians have noted only four known carte-de-visite photos by Yong – of a Chinese man, a woman, two children, and one self-portrait which shows the artist at work on the portrait of a caucasian woman. The photo offered here appears to be an unknown fifth photo, portraying another Chinese man with similar, but not identical, clothing and accoutrements. It is not surprising that so little of Lai Yong’s work has survived, as he himself disappeared from San Francisco records in 1882 – at the height of the “Chinese exclusion” furor – when he apparently sold his business and may have returned to China.

from Stanford University Libraries

The Chinese Question from a Chinese StandpointAlternative Title: translated by Rev. O. Gibson. 1874. Chinese/Chinese American Communities : Ethnic Studies Library : Edwar Lee papers : Booklets [on the “Chinese Question”] “Chinese in California” Collection, Ethnic Studies Library, UC Berkeley.

Lai Yong, photographer [two young performers in costume]. 1872.
From Chinese In California Collection, Courtesy of California Historical Society.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #1 : AIISF & Del Sol Quartet

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.


“While there are inscriptions by immigrants from many different nations that can still be found on the walls of the detention barracks, it’s the 200+ poems left behind by Chinese detainees that helped to save the site’s buildings from being torn down and that secured the site’s status as both a California Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. These poems give us a glimpse into the emotions and experiences of immigrants who were held in detention then.”

Edward Tepporn, Executive Director, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation


Photo: Edward Tepporn. Angel Island Chinese Monument. July 20, 2019.

ANGEL ISLAND IMMIGRATION STATION FOUNDATION (AIISF) raises awareness of the experience of Immigration into America through the Pacific. AIISF collects and preserves the rich stories and personal journeys of thousands of immigrants and shares them with visitors and everyone living in America through education initiatives and public programs. The Angel Island Immigration Station reminds us of the complicated history of immigration in America. It serves as a symbol of our willingness to learn from our past to ensure that our nation keeps its promise of liberty and freedom.

Photo: Russell Nauman. Return to Angel Island – Calvin Ong (Ong Doon). June 26, 2021.

In 1937, ten-year-old Calvin Ong (Ong Doon) was detained on Angel Island by immigration officials on his way into the country. Eighty-four years later—on June 26, 2021—Calvin returned to the U.S. Immigration Station with his family. He briefly spoke about his time as a detainee, and a hospital patient, on Angel Island. 

In this photo, Calvin was looking out the window of the former immigration hospital when he noticed the hillside below. He could remember sitting on the hill and watching the ferry arrive with new immigrants each day. Later, we went outside so Calvin could look out over the water with his children and grandchildren.

— Russell Nauman, Operations Manager, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation


THE DEL SOL QUARTET revels in the risk of constantly reimagining the string quartet, building community around art, artistic process, our environment and our culture. Supported by the nonprofit Del Sol Performing Arts Organization (DSPAO), the Del Sol Quartet shares living music with an ever-growing community of adventurous listeners.

Committed to advancing art’s place in society and providing access to a diverse range of audience, the Quartet focuses on commissioning and performing new works, forming unusual and provocative collaborations, and sharing its work globally through recording and education projects.

THE ANGEL ISLAND ORATORIO PROJECT fits squarely into Del Sol’s tradition of adventurous collaborations between artists and community organizations to create new work with a lasting place in the repertoire and to broaden audiences. These goals are integrally connected to shared experiences and socially-relevant themes. The oratorio provides a new way of examining immigration and the clash between governmental policies and national ideals — relevant both to our history and our current political climate. The work also reflects our individual values of what it means to be American, the stories of how we got here, and the history of our city and state.

Photo: Kathryn Bates, View on Island. 2021.
Photo: Edward Tepporn. Angel Island Immigration Station Barracks. July 20, 2019.
Photo: Kathryn Bates. View of Island. March 13, 2021.
Photo: Kathryn Bates. View from Island. March 13, 2021.
Photo: Edward Tepporn. Hope. Angel Island. June 16, 2019.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

USAAF 2021: Angel Island Insight

Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs examining the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and Del Sol Quartet.

These presentations expand public engagement with composer Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings. World premiere performance with Del Sol Quartet and Volti, directed by Robert Geary on October 22 2021, 8pm at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco, with performances on Angel Island on Saturday, October 23, 2021, pending safety restrictions.

“As an Asian American artist, this opportunity to showcase a history that has both a direct connection to my ethnicity as well as a global connection is incredibly empowering.”

– Charlton Lee, Del Sol’s founder & Artistic Director

Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s United States of Asian American Festival 2021 presents ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT with The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet

The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet

In a journey that flows from anger and sorrow, using gratitude as a way to find joy, this Zoom program weaves together their poetry with performances by the Del Sol Quartet, music by Asian-American composers Kui Dong, Theresa Wong, Jungyoon Wie, Huang Ruo, and a collaborative composition performed by The Last Hoisan Poets with the Del Sol Quartet. Artist Q&A moderated by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation’s executive director Edward Tepporn.

Online program held via Zoom on Saturday, May 22, 2021, 2pm.

Three descendants of Angel Island immigrants, The Last Hoisan Poets – Genny Lim, Flo Oy Wong and Nellie Wong – use poetry to speak their individual truths and creatively reclaim the Hoisan-wa language and culture, with performances by the Del Sol Quartet, music by Asian-American composers.

Recording of 5/22/21 APIIC USAAF presents: ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT with The Last Hoisan Poets and Del Sol Quartet

APICC USAAF 2021 Digital Program

Haw Meong Suey (Good Life’s Water)

This collaborative poem written by poets Nellie Wong, Flo Oy Wong, and Genny Lim, was performed with accompaniment by the Del Sol Quartet on Saturday May 22, 2021 for the United States of Asian America Festival 2021, presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. “Haw meong suey” is a Hoisan-wa phrase that translates as “good life’s water.” A person who has “haw meong suey” is a vessel of blessings.

For more information, please visit https://www.delsolquartet.com/angelislandinsight


This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org

For There is Always Light

Today, January 21st is National Angel Island Day.

On this day, we take time to remember the stories, events, and people from the Immigration Station’s 111-year history.

“An Island Light” Angel Island, in sight; January 21, 2021

The light of San Francisco
is a sea light
an island light

— from The Changing Light, by LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation declaring January 21st as National Angel Island Day.

“From the cities, villages, and farms of their birth, they journeyed across the Pacific, seeking better lives for themselves and their children. Many arrived at Angel Island, weary but hopeful, only to be unjustly confined for months or, in some cases, years. As we remember their struggle, we honor all who have been drawn to America by dreams of limitless opportunity.

Unlike immigrants who marveled at the Statue of Liberty upon arrival at Ellis Island, those who came to Angel Island were greeted by an intake facility that was sometimes called the “Guardian of the Western Gate.” Racially prejudiced immigration laws of the time subjected many to rigorous exams and interrogations, as well as detention in crowded, unsanitary barracks. Some expressed themselves by carving poetry and  inscriptions into the walls in their native language — from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to Russian, German, and Urdu. These etchings remain on Angel Island today as poignant reminders of the immigrant experience and an unjust time in our history.

If there is any vindication for the Angel Island immigrants who endured so many hardships, it is the success achieved by those who were allowed entry, and the many who, at long last, gained citizenship. They have contributed immeasurably to our Nation as leaders in every sector of American life. The children of Angel Island have seized the opportunities their ancestors saw from across an ocean. By demonstrating that all things are possible in America, this vibrant community has created a beacon of hope for future generations of immigrants.”

The History That We Stand On, and The Future We Stand For

22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman, America’s first Youth Poet Laureate

On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet, at age twenty-two, to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. She was invited to write a poem inspired by the theme, “America United.” Amanda wanted to write about a new chapter in our country, while acknowledging the dark chapter in American history that we are living through. “Now more than ever, the United States needs an inaugural poem,” Gorman said. “Poetry is typically the touchstone that we go back to when we have to remind ourselves of the history that we stand on, and the future that we stand for.” 

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

— from The Hill We Climb, by AMANDA GORMAN

“A Sea We Must Wade” Angel Island, in sight; January 21, 2021

In response to the Inauguration Day, poet Flo Oy Wong wrote this new poem, inspired by Amanda Gorman, America’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, and Kamala Harris, the first woman, as well as the first African American and first Asian American, to serve as Vice President of the United States. Kamala means “lotus flower” in Sanskrit.

As a Petal of Hope Takes Shape

In brackish water, hope emerges
from a cracked seed like the lotus.
In search of light, hope wends itself,
stretches towards illumination,
waits to dance with dreams.
As a petal of hope takes shape
it tastes like delectable kindness.
It smells sweet like heartfelt compassion.
It feels like golden silk stitched

to goodness of humankind.

FLO OY WONG, January 5 – 19, 2021

Dancing with Dreams: Angel Island, in sight; January 21, 2021

The world premiere performance of Huang Ruo’s “Your Wall is Our Canvas: The Angel Island” with The Del Sol String Quartet is currently planned for October 2021 on Angel Island.

Healdsburg Jazz Festival presents “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Through the Eyes of Children”

HEALDSBURG JAZZ is proud to present a FREE family concert titled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Through the Eyes of Children on the birthdate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Friday, January 15 at 7-8 pm PST and again on Saturday, January 16 at 12-1 pm PST. 

The concert is a 1-hour music and spoken word performance inspired by and dedicated to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the music of the Civil Rights Movement, presented in collaboration with Stanford‘s King Research & Education Institute, led by Professor Clayborne Carson who was selected in 1985 by Coretta Scott King to edit and publish the papers of her late husband.

Artistic Director of Healdsburg Jazz Festival Marcus Shelby has put together a wonderful lineup of performers for the virtual program — vocalists Kim Nalley and Tiffany Austin, Tammy Hall on piano, Genius Wesley on drums, with Healdsburg Jazz Poet Laureate Enid Pickett and youth poet Selma Arapa. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Through the Eyes of Children” was filmed at The Sound Room in Oakland, CA, directed by filmmaker Kevin Johnson.

Visit the Healdsburg Jazz Festival website to register for the concert:
https://healdsburgjazz.org/dr-martin-luther-king-jr-through-the-eyes-of-children/

For Educators, Families, Students: Healdsburg Jazz has also created free downloadable resources, including an independent study guide and fact sheet, a timeline, a playlist of songs, a playlist of speeches, and suggested books and poems about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the music of the Civil Rights era.

The Freedom Singers – “Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Set On Freedom” (1964)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on The Soul of The Movement

An important part of the mass meetings was the freedom songs. In a sense the freedom songs are THE SOUL OF THE MOVEMENT.

They are more than just incantations of clever phrases designed to invigorate a campaign; they are as old as the history of the Negro in America. They are adaptations of songs the slaves sang-the sorrow songs, the shouts for joy, the battle hymns, and the anthems of our movement. I have heard people talk of their beat and rhythm, but we in the movement are as inspired by their words. “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Freedom” is a sentence that needs no music to make its point. We sing the freedom songs for the same reason the slaves sang them, because we too are in bondage and the songs add hope to our determination that “We shall overcome, Black and white together, we shall overcome someday.” These songs bound us together, gave us courage together, helped us march together. We could walk toward any Gestapo force. We had cosmic companionship, for we were singing, “Come By Me, Lord, Come By Me.”

With this music, a rich heritage from our ancestors who had the stamina and the moral fiber to be able to find beauty in broken fragments of music, whose illiterate minds were able to compose eloquently simple expressions of faith and hope and idealism, we can articulate our deepest groans and passionate yearnings-and end always on a note of hope that God is going to help us work it out, right here in the South where evil stalks the life of a Negro from the time he is placed in his cradle. Through this music, the Negro is able to dip down into wells of a deeply pessimistic situation and danger-fraught circumstances and to bring forth a marvelous, sparkling, fluid optimism. He knows it is still dark in his world, but somehow, he finds a ray of light.” 

— from The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by CLAYBORNE CARSON.

“FIGURES OF DISCORD SPRING FROM SOUL, reminding us that neither artist nor citizen nor believer ought ever concede their truth in the face of rule or custom…

Ralph Ellison famously claimed for Black music power to curve mind and sense, helping the willing listener to see around corners. Jim Crow, Klan violence, government vacillation and the persistence of war and poverty successively placed hard-angled obstacles before the Movement, demanding an arc of vision that called upon the utmost of imagination and love. The genius of Marcus Shelby, composer, performer, student and citizen, is to teach through artistry, so that we might bend our own sight, and make the worlds we seek to live for.”

DR. ADAM GREEN, University of Chicago on Marcus Shelby’s Soul of The Movement (2011)

Soul of the Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a 12 part musical suite that honors the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others who marched and protested for freedom. After 3 years of research, artist residencies, and traveling throughout the south Marcus Shelby composed and orchestrated the music for “Soul of the Movement” for his 15 piece big band orchestra with guest vocalists Faye Carol, Kenny Washington, and Jeannine Anderson and guest instrumentalists Howard Wiley (soprano and tenor sax), Matt Clark (B3 Organ), and Sistah Kee (piano). Soul of the Movement was released in 2011 and has become part of school presentations in and around the San Francisco Bay Area on an annual basis.