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MLK events to mark civil right legacy

This April will mark the 45th anniversary of the assassination of one of the most influential men in U.S. history, and his dream of equal rights for all men and women continues to be honored locally.

Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights activist whose life was spent fighting for those rights through nonviolent civil protest, would have been 84 on Jan. 15. Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be observed on Jan. 21 this year.

Several local celebrations and remembrance ceremonies will be held to mark his legacy.

City of Springfield

Springfield’s Community Development Department will host the 23rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 18 in the Grand Hall of the Hollenbeck-Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center, 275 S. Limestone St.

Tickets are required and can be obtained by making a $20 check out to The City of Springfield/MLK and sending it to MLK Luncheon, City of Springfield, 76 E. High St., Springfield, OH 45502.

For information about other payment methods or details about the event, call Cheryl Dover at (937) 324-7379 or Jennifer Tuttle at (937) 324-7380.

Wittenberg University

An activist, professor and award-winning author is the featured speaker at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Convocation, set for 11 a.m. Jan. 21 in Wittenberg University’s Weaver Chapel, East Campus Drive.

Peniel Joseph, a Tufts University professor, is the author of two award-winning books and editor of two others about black power and its history in the United States.

He’s also the founder of a growing sub-field in American History and Africana Studies that he characterizes as “Black Power Studies.” He’s a frequent TV commentator on issues of race, democracy and civil rights.

Following the convocation, Joseph will attend a question-and-answer session in Room 105 of the Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning, 737 N. Fountain Ave.

The free event also features an academic procession with faculty in full regalia.

United Senior Services

United Senior Services will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a social hour that includes snacks and entertainment at 2 p.m. Jan. 21.

The event will also include an educational program relevant to the celebration of King’s birthday at the Pitzer Center, 101 S. Fountain Ave.

It’s free and open to the public. The African-American Community Fund Advisory Committee of the Springfield Foundation is a co-sponsor of the event.

For more information, call (937) 323-4948.

St. Paul AME Church, Urbana

St. Paul AME Church in Urbana will host its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration Jan. 20 at the church, 316 E. Market St.

Featured speaker will be Dale Snyder Jr. from Bethel AME Church in Columbus.

Also on the schedule are performances by a a men’s choir from London, Ohio, a singing group from Urbana and pianist Jan Martin. Several local pastors from Urbana churches also plan to participate.

The celebration begins at 3:30 p.m. For more information, call the church at (937) 653-5384.

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