“The primary emphasis has been bringing the mountain to Mohammad,” filmmaker Eugene Jarecki said of bringing his searing documentary about the war on drugs, “The House I Live In,” to Washington on Saturday to commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
Thanks to a quirk of the calendar, the public swearing-in ceremony on Monday for President Barack Obama falls on the holiday marking the civil rights icon’s birthday.
Obama has asked people to join him in a day of service Saturday to mark King’s birthday, but the inaugural pomp and circumstance has overhadowed the holiday a bit.
As part of its plans to honor King’s memory, Shaw’s Shiloh Baptist Church will host the screening, followed by a live performance by John Legend, an executive producer of the film.
Legend will then join a panel discussion with Jarecki, actor Danny Glover (another executive producer) and Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, an Obama mentor. Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va., is also scheduled to attend. The film will be simulcast to about 100 other churches.
The winner of the grand jury prize for documentary at last year’s Sundance Film Festival is a harrowing account of the toll the drug war has taken on the black community, American society and civil rights.
Last week, Jarecki screened the film in Atlanta at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, King’s old church.
He sees the screenings and the film’s call to activism as a way “to really dignify and live up to King’s legacy.”
The screening starts at 12:30 p.m. at 1500 Ninth St. NW.