PLEASE NOTE: This event will take place at The Plaza at 300 Ashland (at the corner of Flatbush & Lafayette Avenues, Brooklyn, NY 11217).

Acclaimed actor Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black) reads the last sermon that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered in his pastoral home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, 50 years ago on February 4, 1968. 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. These readings are 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. Featuring THE PHIL WOODMORE SINGERS. Composed and Conducted by PHIL WOODMORE


This performance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s The Drum Major Instinct is co-presented by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and is part of the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival (September 21-23, 2018). For more information about the festival, please visit:

Martin Luther King Jr.’s The Drum Major Instinct is made possible with funds from the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project.

close navigation