Martin Luther King Jr.Each January, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe marks the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the national MLK holiday with a celebration. Written and adapted by WBTT Founder & Artistic Director Nate Jacobs and Rev. Charles S. McKenzie Jr., the event features songs and dances by WBTT performers and Stage of Discovery students, as well as excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches.

Rev. McKenzie’s soaring oratory matches the spirit and cadence of Dr. King’s historic words that stirred a nation — from his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington to the moving “mountaintop” speech he gave before his assassination in Memphis in 1968.

Community Foundataion of Sarasota

This year, due to COVID-19, WBTT is not presenting its traditional in-person performance at Booker High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Theatre. But thanks to generous sponsors, we are pleased to honor Dr. King with a video of our 2019 celebration, presented free as a community service. The video includes a new introduction by Nate Jacobs, WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach, Community Foundation of Sarasota County President & CEO Roxie Jerde, and — from the Sarasota County Bar Association Council for Diversity and Inclusion — Judge Karimu Hill-Harvey and Tamara Williams.

Bar Association Council of SarasotaSpecial thanks to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, our Lead Sponsor, and the Sarasota County Bar Association Council for Diversity and Inclusion, our Collaborating Sponsor, for sponsoring the 2019 event and this 2021 encore video presentation, Dr Martin Luther King Jr: Celebrating His Legacy in Spoken Word and Song. We believe it will move and inspire you!






We hope you enjoyed the celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy. We could not present these free and low-cost events and fulfill our mission of producing professional theatre that promotes and celebrates the African American experience, attracts diverse audiences, supports and develops African American artists, and builds the self-esteem of African American youth without generous sponsors and donors. If you are interested in supporting WBTT, CLICK HERE to learn more.


MLK Student Essay Winners

As part of our annual Martin Luther King Celebration, the Sarasota County Bar Association Council for Diversity and Inclusion sponsors a Martin Luther King Student Essay Contest. The winners are announced at our celebration each January.

Nora Ngo MitchellThis year’s WBTT MLK Celebration video features Nora Ngo Mitchell, a sophomore at Booker High School, reading her essay about the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Nora’s essay was awarded first place.

CLICK HERE to read Nora’s essay.



Oliver MyersThe second-place essayist is Oliver Myers, a junior at Pine View School. Oliver wrote his essay on the topic of Florida Governor DeSantis’s proposed legislation criminalizing certain forms of protest and assembly.

CLICK HERE to read Oliver’s essay.



Marian Morera,The third-place essayist is Marian Morera Bandera, a senior at Booker High School. She wrote her essay on the topic of the “Black Codes” and “Pig Laws” passed in the South to limit the freedom of African Americans following the Civil War.

CLICK HERE to read Marian’s essay.



Congratulations to the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest winners! We hope to be able to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy with all of you in person in 2022, but we’re glad we were able to celebrate via video this year. Here are some photos of the 2019 celebration we featured in the streaming video. Thank you for visiting this web page and watching the video!


Photo Gallery

Video by Bill Wagy Productions
Photos by Sorcha Augustine