Local events to mark MLK’s civil rights legacy

Clark, Champaign programs pay tribute to slain leader.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 20, and several local events have been planned to celebrate the life of one of the country’s most influential leaders.

Best known for his leadership role in advancing civil rights using non-violent measures, starting in the mid-1950s, King was also a clergyman, activist and humanitarian.

This year will mark 46th anniversary of his death, as he was assassinated at the age of 39 on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn.

King would have been 85 years old on Wednesday.

The local events:


  • Springfield’s 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon will be from 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. at the Grand Hall of the Clark State Community College Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts & Conference Center, 275 S. Limestone St. The event will feature author Lewis Banks, a Springfield native, as the speaker. Cost is $20. For tickets, call Cheryl Dover at 937-324-7379, email her at cdover@ci.springfield.oh.us or stop by the Community Development department on the second floor of City Hall, 76 E. High St.


  • St. Paul AME Church’s annual MLK celebration will be held at 3:30 p.m. at the church, 316 E. Market St., Urbana. The speaker will be Rev. Brian Coleman of Faith Tabernacle Church, E. Ohio 29, Urbana. Coleman had been a minister of a church in Springfield before returning to the Urbana area. The theme for the celebration is “Imagine The Dream Fulfilled.” Several local ministers and officials will participate in the program. Music will be provided by local musicians. The event is free and open to the public.


  • Wittenberg University will hold its annual Wittenberg Series-sponsored Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Convocation at 11 a.m. in Weaver Chapel, North Wittenberg Avenue, and the featured speaker is founder and president of the Center for Social Inclusion Maya Wiley. Her speech is titled “Race to Democracy: The Beloved Community in the 21st Century.” Following the convocation, Wiley will attend a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in room 105 of the Joseph C. Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning, 737 N. Fountain Ave. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open 30 minutes before the event. For more info, call 937-206-3539 or email jfox@wittenberg.edu.
  • United Senior Services is hosting a program to honor the life and philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr. The celebration will be held at 2 p.m. at 101 S. Fountain Ave. There will be music and dance. Jonas Bender, a member of the Montford Point Marines, will speak about his experience as one of the first African Americans to be permitted to join the Marines during World War II. Hattie Millender, minister for the Church of God MPG of T, will speak. Refreshments will be served. The program is free and open to the public.

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