Organizations around the Dayton region will honor the life and work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with events this month ranging from prayer breakfasts to speeches by some who served with the late civil rights leader to the annual march that serves as a reminder of his sacrifices.
King’s birthday was approved as a federal holiday in 1983, and all 50 states recognized it by 2000. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill in November 1983. The first federal King holiday was observed in 1986, nearly 20 years after he was killed in April 1968.
MORE: A look back at Martin Luther King Jr.’s visits to Dayton
There following events will be held around the Miami Valley to celebrate King’s life and legacy:
MLK Dayton Inc.
This year’s theme, “Forgiveness,” encapsulates the vision of this year’s MLK Dayton Inc. events and activities, as King was a clergyman, activist and prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement.
MLK Dayton has successfully galvanized and united residents of the greater Dayton area through a series of annual events highlighted by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial March and celebrations. Tickets for the Interfaith Breakfast and Celebration Banquet, and most MLK Dayton Inc. events will be available online at www.mlkdaytoninc.org/events.
• Friday, Jan. 17, 7:30 a.m.: MLK Dayton Inc. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast - Grace United Methodist Church, 1001 Harvard Blvd. (Ticket Required)
• Sunday, Jan. 19, 5 p.m.: MLK Dayton Inc. Gospel Musical - Shiloh Baptist Church, 3801 Fairbanks Ave.
• Monday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m.: MLK Dayton Inc. March - Begins at the Charles R. Drew Health Center, 1323 W. Third St., Dayton; ends at the Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. 5th St.
• Monday, Jan. 20, 11 a.m.: MLK Dayton Inc. Youth Celebration - Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. Fifth St.
• Monday, Jan. 20, 6 p.m.: MLK Dayton Celebration Banquet - Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. Fifth St. (Ticket Required)
MLK Dayton is not affiliated with any one faith, denomination or church. For more information contact Kimberly Gaither at 210-557-2121.
MORE: PHOTOS: Martin Luther King Jr.’s visits to the Dayton region
MLK Unity Sunday
The Kroc Center will host a worship service and lunch in honor of Martin Luther King Day. This service will be held on Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Dayton location, 1000 N. Keowee St., on the corner of Webster and Keowee streets. This event is free and open to the public.
The worship service will begin at 10:45 a.m. and lunch will be served after the service. This program will feature guest speaker, Marion Platt, Ed.D. area Commander of The Salvation Army of Memphis & the Mid-South.
Sinclair’s Martin Luther King Jr. annual rally and march
Sinclair Community College students, faculty, staff and families are invited to the annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast and march taking place Monday, Jan. 20. Breakfast starts at 9:30 a.m. in the Great Hall with a performance by the World House Choir. There will be a program at 9:45 a.m. Sinclair participants will join the community for the annual walk at 10:30 a.m. RSVP is requested for this event at www.sinclair.edu.
University of Dayton hosting wreath laying
College officials are inviting the public to come together for the Inaugural Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Wreath Laying Ceremony, as the university will pay tribute to King’s legacy at the monument that represents his historic visit to the University of Dayton campus. The event starts at 11:45 a.m. Jan. 16. at the MLK Monument (Near Albert Emanuel Hall).
MLK Jr. Presentation
The Centerville-Washington Diversity Council will host Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard, president of Wilberforce University, as he presents “King’s Beloved Community Reimagined” at 1 p.m. Jan. 20, at the Faith Community Performing Arts Center on the St. Leonard campus, 8100 Clyo Road. There is no charge to attend.
Pinkard previously served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Johnson C. Smith University, and was founding executive director of the United Negro College Fund Institute for Capacity Building, which assists 37 member institutions. He has held administrative positions at 10 institutes of higher learning, including seven historically black colleges or universities.
For more information or to make a reservation, contact Kelly Lance at 937-432-6549 or email@example.com.
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Clark State and city of Springfield will host the 30th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17. It will be held at Clark State’s Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts & Conference Center.
Stephen Francis, Esq., president and lead strategist of Franchise D&I Solutions, LLC, will provide the keynote address. The luncheon’s theme “Living the dream,” has the sub-theme of “What would King do?”
MORE: MLK targeted for assassination at 1965 Antioch commencement
The annual MLK March will begin at 10 a.m. starting near the Subway restaurant on Xenia Avenue, and it will go through the middle of town and end up at the John Bryan Community Center on Dayton Street for a program. Also, there is a program at 9 a.m. at the Coretta Scott King Center, located on the campus of Antioch College prior to the march. All of these events are taking place on Jan. 20.
Other events celebrating the King holiday can be found online at www.daytondailynews.com.