The Virtual Martin Luther King (vMLK) Performance

The Virtual Martin Luther King (vMLK) Project

Flag Hall Stage




Wake Forest University

Reserachers: Victoria Gallagher, Keon Pettiway, Derek Ham, Pete Schreiner, Emily Winderman, Max Renner, Chandra Maldonado, Ryan McKenna, and Robert Bell

Overview of the vMLK Project

Just days after the start of the Greensboro sit-ins in February 1960, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered what would become a widely influential speech, “A Creative Protest”. Commonly known as the “Fill Up the Jails” speech and delivered on February 16, 1960, in Durham, North Carolina, it marked the first time King openly encouraged activists to disrupt and break the law through non-violent confrontation even if it meant “filling up the jails.” The speech served to catalyze the movement. Despite the historical and rhetorical significance of this speech, no audio recordings have been located, and the original location of the speech, White Rock Baptist Church, was torn down to make way for the Durham Freeway. The Virtual Martin Luther King (vMLK) Project, through three distinct transmedia experiences (walk-in surround sound, gaming simulation, and virtual reality simulation), enables visitors to become immersed in King’s speech, hearing his words and the audience’s responses and experiencing it just as a child in the church balcony or an elderly woman in the front row did in February 1960, yet simultaneously situated in the current historical moment. Visitors describe the vMLK experience as transformative.