Chris Rock Recites James Baldwin During Powerful MLK Day Event In Harlem

The "MLK Now" event was history in the making.

01/18/2016 06:46 pm ET | Updated Jan 18, 2016

Chris Rock brought the powerful words of James Baldwin to life Monday during a tribute at the "MLK Now" event in Harlem honoring the late Martin Luther King. 

The program, put together by the Campaign For Black Achievement and Blackout for Human Rights -- organizations committed to social justice -- took place at Harlem's Riverside Church, where King delivered his riveting 1967 speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence.”

The event attracted a bevy of black Hollywood stars, who celebrated the legacy of King and other black historical icons. Some stars paid tribute through musical performances, like India Arie, who praised Shirley Chisolm. Others, including Rock, gave powerful recitals.

Rock, who will host the Oscars next month, read the words to Baldwin's widely praised 1963 letter, "My Dungeon Shook." Watch Rock's full performance below (he takes the stage around the 1:44 mark). 

"Creed" director Ryan Coogler, also the director and a founding member of Blackout for Human Rights, served as moderator for the event and introduced stars on the stage, including Harry Belafonte, Octavia Spencer, Jussie Smollett, Michael B. Jordan and India Arie. 

The event, being live-streamed online, continues until 8 p.m. 

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