MLK Jazz Award

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The MLK Jazz Award with Jimmy Heath

*Copy Courtesy of:  UNCW-Upperman, the Cape Fear Jazz Society and Thalian Hall

Deborah A. Culp


In 1964 Dr. Martin Luther King penned a profound statement on the history, meaning and importance of the American music called jazz. He composed these poetic words to be included in the written program of the inaugural Berlin Jazz Festival. It is one of his least-known writings but is written with both the passion and insight of someone who lived, loved and understood the experiences that created this art form. In these words is a poignancy that rings with the clarity of truth and the strength of authenticity.

The Upperman African American Cultural Center at UNCW has chosen these words as the inspiration for an honor that we plan to annually bestow upon individuals or groups whose impact on the genre called jazz captures their spirit. The MLK Spirit of Jazz Award for the year 2012 will be presented to renowned musicians the Heath Brothers (Jimmy Heath and Albert “Tootie” Heath) on Saturday, March 10th, 7: 30 p.m. at a ceremony to be held at Thalian Hall in Wilmington, North Carolina. It will be part of a series of honors conferred upon these jazz masters prior to their “Homecoming Celebration Concert” at Thalian that is organized through a joint effort of the Cape Fear Jazz Society and the Upperman African American Cultural Center. Current UNCW students will be admitted to the concert free of charge with vouchers that may be obtained at the Upperman African American Cultural Center.

Jimmy Heath will appear at UNCW on Friday, March 9th for a Master Class and to sign copies of his book “I Walked With Giants: The Autobiography of Jimmy Heath.” The event will take place in the Gunther Skiba Room (1086) of the Cultural Arts Building at 2 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

On Saturday March 10th at 7:30 pm, Thalian Hall will play host to the Heath Brothers Celebration Concert.

Thalian Hall is also located in Wilmington, NC. Ticket prices are $20.00, $25.00 and $30.00, with limited seating. For more information contact the Cape Fear Jazz Society: or



Deborah A. Culp ( Contributing Writer)

About Deborah A. Culp ( Contributing Writer)

Deborah A. Culp is a Freelance Journalist & Consultant with over 20 years of hard earned experience in the business. This includes Print & Broadcast Media. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, she now lives in Wilmington, NC. She is a Correspondent to Divine Caroline, TPEPost News, The History of Jazz Music, and For ColoredGurls and formerly with the Wilmington Star News Online. Deborah recently became the Parent & Family Expert for the, Wilmington/Fayetteville, and NC. Still operating as a Freelance Writer/Photographer. She is working on her first book; “Then there was laughter” and has a few business endeavor irons in the fire. She is a staunch volunteer and loves her family & friends.