CINCINNATI — Hundreds spent Monday celebrating the continued legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday with events spanning the Tri-State.
King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, the day after addressing a Memphis crowd. King supported a sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis after a malfunctioning compactor crushed to death two trash collectors. Workers demanded better pay and improved working conditions.
Referring to the partial government shutdown, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said King would not be happy about the current state of affairs in the U.S.
“I think it is ironic that he was standing up for workers who weren’t getting paid enough, and today there are federal government workers who aren’t getting paid at all,” the mayor said during the King Legacy Awards Breakfast held at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
“Let’s spend the day today in hope,” he said.
Monday’s events at the Freedom Center began with the sold-out awards breakfast where participants of the King Legacy Youth Leadership Program were honored.
“I know he would be very proud of us,” said Gina H. Goings, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, “and I know that everyday we are fulfilling Dr. King’s dream by remembering our past — by building those bridges he wanted us to build and by having those courageous conversations right here in this building.”
The 44th annual MLK March followed the breakfast with marchers pausing at Fountain Square for an interfaith prayer service.
“We remember today the witness to Dr. King's struggle against injustice and oppression,” said Rev. Stacey Midge from the Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church. “We remember together his reaching toward equality and dignity for black and African American people and by extension all people.”
The annual march has been held in Cincinnati since 1975, when Ohio declared Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is open until 5 p.m. Monday. Admission to permanent exhibitions is free. The “Rosa Parks Experience” will cost visitors an extra $5. The exhibit, “Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu,” costs visitors an extra $10.
Hoxworth Blood Center’s Annual MLK Day Blood Drive is taking place on the third floor of the museum Monday as well. Click here to schedule an appointment.