UA Announces 2018 Realizing the Dream Schedule

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Mary Mary, the Gospel recording and Grammy award-winning sister duo of Erica and Tina Campbell, will be the featured performers for the 2018 Realizing the Dream Concert Sunday, January 14, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at The University of Alabama’s Moody Music Concert Hall on campus. Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover will be the Legacy Awards Banquet speaker. The banquet will take place Friday, January 12, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. in the Bryant Conference Center Sellers Auditorium, also on campus.

Realizing the Dream Through Service to Others will be the theme for this year’s events celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which are hosted by The University of Alabama, Stillman College, Shelton State Community College and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

The Campbell sisters broke through in 2000 as Mary Mary with the pioneering hit “Shackles (Praise You).” Mary Mary has earned numerous Stellar Music and Dove Awards, four Grammy Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, two American Music Awards, a Soul Train Award, a BET Award, the BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Award and more. After seven Mary Mary albums and 18-plus years of singing professionally, the commercially successful and critically acclaimed Mary Mary has sold more than five million albums, toured internationally and graced the covers of multiple high-profile magazines. Both sisters have launched successful, award-winning solo careers while continuing to perform as Mary Mary and while finding time to devote to their faith and their families.

Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than a quarter century. He holds a lengthy list of performance credits, including the blockbuster “Lethal Weapon” franchise and the Oscar-nominated “Dreamgirls,” and earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in the title role of the HBO movie “Mandela.” In 2005 he co-founded the New York-based Louverture Films, which is dedicated to the development and production of films of historical relevance, social purpose, commercial value and artistic integrity. Glover has gained great respect both nationally and internationally for his wide-reaching community activism and philanthropic efforts, which focus on economic justice, access to healthcare and education programs. Glover, who currently serves as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, openly advocates for the arts to lead the way in community activism around the world.

At the Legacy Banquet, Rev. Frank Dukes will receive the Mountaintop Award, Ellen Griffith Spears, PhD, will receive the Call to Conscience Award and UA student Marissa Navarro will receive the Horizon Award.

Mountaintop Award recipient Dukes is being honored for creating and leading the Selective Buying Campaign of 1962, co-leading the Easter Sunday March of 1963, working with and serving as a bodyguard for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his time in Birmingham and acting as the director of alumni affairs at his alma mater, Miles College, until 1970. After leaving Miles, Dukes continued to impact lives and make history. He became the second black hired as a counselor for the Alabama State Department of Education – Vocational Rehabilitation Division, where he worked with public offenders and substance abusers for more than two decades. Now retired, Dukes volunteers as a counselor and black history instructor at Maranathan Academy, a nonprofit school specializing in critically at-risk youth. The school, located in Birmingham, was founded in 1991 by Dukes’ daughter, Donna. Rev. Dukes visits Maranathan Academy daily, where he serves as a role model to the students, often instructing them on the importance of God, family, love of country, good study habits and a strong work ethic.

Ellen Griffith Spears is the recipient of the 2018 Realizing the Dream Call to Conscience Award. An associate professor in the Department of American Studies and New College at UA, Spears is the author of “Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town.” The book recounts the legal fight that began in Anniston during the 1990s against the agrochemical company Monsanto over the dumping of toxic chemicals in the city’s historical African American and white working-class west side, as well as the campaign to safely eliminate chemical weaponry secretively stockpiled near Anniston during the Cold War. The book received the 2015 Francis B. Simkins Prize from the Southern Historical Association, the 2014 Arthur J. Viseltear Award for Outstanding Contribution to the History of Public Health from the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association and the 2015 Reed Environmental Writing Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center. Spears is co-author of Alabama House Joint Resolution 20, which exonerates the Scottsboro Boys of any wrongdoing. The group of nine young black men had been wrongly accused and convicted of raping two white women while all were passengers on a train in 1931.

The recipient of the 2018 Realizing the Dream Horizon Award is Marissa Navarro, a junior Spanish and international studies double major. Navarro demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of cultural diversity and to resolving the challenges of inclusion and equity on campus early in her college career when, as a freshman, she founded the Hispanic-Latino Association (HLA). HLA’s main focus is to unite students, faculty and staff of Hispanic/Latino ethnic background and those with an interest in Hispanic/Latino culture through activities that invoke cultural, social, educational and political awareness while creating a representative voice for the Hispanic/Latino campus community. Navarro served as an SGA senator during her sophomore year and has worked hard to give voice to marginalized students on campus. She served as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute intern in Washington, D.C., during summer 2017.

Realizing the Dream partner the SCLC will sponsor Unity Day activities beginning at 7 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, with the Unity Breakfast at Beulah Baptist Church. Dr. Joseph Scrivner, pastor at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, will be the speaker. The Unity Day march will begin at noon from the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School and Beulah Baptist Church. Rev. Tyshawn Gardner, SCLC president and pastor of Plum Grove Baptist Church, will be the speaker. The annual Mass Rally will begin at 6 p.m. at First African Baptist Church. The speaker will be bishop L. Spencer Smith, pastor of Impact Nation.

Concert tickets are $15. Legacy Banquet tickets are $25 for individuals or $200 for a table of 10. Dress is semiformal. Tickets for both events will go on sale through the Moody Music Building Music Services Office Wednesday, January 3, 2018.

Music Services Office hours are 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday; phone (205) 348-7111.

For more information about Realizing the Dream activities and events, visit the website at http://realizingthedream.ua.edu, or contact Carol Agomo at 205-348-7405 or via email at community.affairs@ua.edu.


The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.