The Mighty Stream: in celebration of Martin Luther King

Watch The Mighty Stream

‘There are three urgent and indeed great problems that we face today…That is the problem of racism, the problem of poverty and the problem of war.’
– Dr Martin Luther King, Newcastle University, 1967

It is 50 years since Newcastle University awarded an honorary degree to Dr Martin Luther King Jr on 13 November 1967. And to commemorate the event, Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts in partnership with Bloodaxe Books hosted The Mighty Stream: Poems in Celebration of Martin Luther King.

Professor of Poetry and Scots Makar Jackie Kay was joined by Fred D’Aguiar, Imtiaz Dharker, Sarah Howe, and Major Jackson for this unique event featuring readings from some of the most significant contributors.

You can watch the stream as live from Newcastle University’s King’s Hall, where Dr King received his honorary degree, to celebrate the work of a great man and the continued resistance to racism, poverty and war.

The event was streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and also broadcast at a simultaneous event at the National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington DC.

The ground-breaking anthology, launched at the live stream, brings together poems that offer powerful testimonies to the urgent issues Dr King defines and represents the polyphony of voices that speak in resistance to our continuing problems of racism, poverty and war. Featuring poems by Claudia Rankine, Grace Nichols, Yusef Komunyakaa, Kayo Chingonyi, Rita Dove, Daljit Nagra, Patricia Smith, Jericho Brown, Cornelius Eady, Toi Derricotte, Vahni Capildeo, Elizabeth Alexander, Ishion Hutchinson, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Terrance Hayes and many others.

The Mighty Stream features poems in celebration of Martin Luther King
The Mighty Stream features poems in celebration of Martin Luther King

This event was part of Freedom City 2017, a city-wide programme across Newcastle marking the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King Jr receiving an honorary degree from Newcastle University.

About this artist

A world-class centre of excellence in the field of creative writing which contributes to the cultural life of the North East via readings, projects, teaching and research.