Tell Dr. Joe P. Cornelius to put a lid on it, and he’s likely to oblige. The school principal from Maury County, Tennessee, calls himself “The Hat Man,” and he’s accustomed to wearing a lot of them. Cornelius is an author, a playwright, a journalist, and an actor and will be a featured artist during the National Civil Rights Museum’s King Holiday Weekend honoring Martin Luther King Jr. On Saturday, January 14th, at 1:30 a.m., Cornelius will perform King: A Man of Many Hat
s, a theatrical overview of the African-American experience using music, humor, and more than a dozen caps, hoods, crowns, helmets, bandannas, and 10-gallon toppers. King: A Man of Many Hats
is a free but ticketed event with a limit of three tickets per person. (Encore performances Monday 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.)
Cornelius’ heady epic begins on the west coast of Africa and touches in rapid succession on everything from slavery and the Civil War to outer space and saggy pants.
Saturday’s events also include a 3 p.m. screening of Road to the Promised Land, a documentary about King by Memphis filmmaker George Tillman, and a 5 p.m. book signing by Ritchie Sherrod Jackson, author of The House by the Side of the Road.
On Monday, January 16th, Civil Rights Museum officially celebrates MLK Day with a food drive benefiting the Mid-South Food Bank, a performance by the Hattiloo Theatre of The Meeting, Jeff Stetson’s fictional account of an encounter between King and Malcolm X, and other courtyard events.