Cincinnati honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with march, free museum admission

Posted at 6:28 AM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 00:43:07-05

CINCINNATI -- A host of activities honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were scheduled Monday around the Queen City and Tri-State, including free or discounted admission to many area museums. 

The MLK Coalition's 42nd annual celebration of the holiday in Cincinnati began with a sold-out ticketed King Legacy Awards Breakfast at 8 a.m. at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center near The Banks.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., hundreds of people gathered outside the Freedom Center’s Harriet Tubman Theater. After brief remarks and prayers, marchers proceeded to Fountain Square for an interfaith prayer service.

Metro’s Rosa Parks Bus, dedicated to the spirit of Mrs. Parks, participated in the march, providing limited seating for those unable to walk from the Freedom Center to Taft Theatre.  Many area religious leaders also participated during the march and later at Taft Theatre.

The Commemorative Celebration began at 11:30 a.m. at the Taft Theatre. Adam Clark, associate professor of theology at Xavier University, addressed the year's theme of "Unfair, Unequal, Unacceptable." Clark teaches courses ranging from The Religious Thought of Martin Luther King Jr., to areas including Black Theology and Hip Hop. While King's message is often neutralized to platitudes about having a "dream" and "just getting along," Clark explored the much more radical King whose message speaks to the very challenges we face as a nation in 2017.

In addition to Clark's presentation, Steve Milloy conducted the award-winning Martin Luther King Chorale, which was joined at times by area children's choirs. The Chorale also performed selections from "The Man Behind the Dream," a cantata composed by Milloy to honor the life and work of openly gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin.

The Freedom Center also had free admission from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those who gave blood at Hoxworth Blood Center's annual blood drive on the third floor received free access to the Rosa Parks Experience.

The Cincinnati Museum Center had its annual Celebrate the Dream event, which includes African dances, poetry readings, storytelling and music.

The Reds Hall of Fame offered half-off admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, meaning $5 for adults and $4 for students and seniors. National parks were also free of charge, including Mount Auburn's William Howard Taft National Historic Site.