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Honoring the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Join us for a free community event featuring a keynote address by James Forman, Jr., winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction for Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, with performances by Norwalk's Serendipity Chorale and students from Regional Center for the Arts in Trumbull. 

Due to the winter storm in our area, the 13th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Day Celebration scheduled for this Sunday has been postponed. We are working to find a new date and hope to make that announcement in the coming week. Your safety is important to us so we encourage you to stay indoors and off the roads during the storm. 

Advance registration for this popular community event is encouraged.
By phone at (203) 227-4177 or by email at
rsvp@westportplayhouse.org.

The program will run approximately 90 minutes.

A moderated audience Q&A will follow Mr. Forman's address, and a reception and book signing will take place in the Playhouse lobby after the program.


Keynote Speaker
James Forman Jr.

James Forman, Jr. is a leading critic of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color. In Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, he seeks to understand the war on crime that began in the 1970s and why it was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers.


Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. In response, these officials embraced tough-on-crime measures that would have unforeseen but devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods. A former public defender in Washington, D.C., Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims trapped in terrible dilemmas. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why our society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system in this country.

Locking Up Our Own won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction and was longlisted for the National Book Award. It has been named a Best Book of the Year by numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Marshall Project, Publisher’s Weekly, and GQ Magazine. Reviewers have called the book “superb and shattering” (New York Times), “eloquent” and “sobering” (London Review of Books), and “moving, nuanced, and candid” (New York Review of Books). On Twitter, the New York Times book reviewer Jennifer Senior called Locking Up Our Own “the best book I’ve read this year.” Books will be available for purchase.


Childcare and activities will be provided by the Westport/Weston Family YMCA in the Lucille Lortel White Barn, Sheffer Studio, adjacent to the theater. Registration is required to take advantage of this offer for children ages 12 and under by calling the Playhouse box office at (203) 227-4177.


Co-sponsored by the Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy, The Westport Library,
Westport Country Playhouse, the Westport/Weston Interfaith Council, and TEAM Westport.