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Martin Luther King Day celebration returns to Music Hall this year

MLK Day celebration returns to Music Hall
Posted at 5:50 AM, Jan 15, 2018

CINCINNATI -- Nearly 50 years after the death of Martin Luther King Jr., people will celebrate his legacy around the Queen City on Monday. 

This is the MLK Coalition’s 43rd annual celebration of the holiday in Cincinnati, dedicated to keeping King’s legacy vibrant in our community with 2018's theme of “If Not Now, When?”

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., hundreds of people will gather outside the Freedom Center’s Harriet Tubman Theater. After brief remarks and prayers, marchers will proceed to Fountain Square for an interfaith prayer service at 11 a.m. before continuing to a commemorative celebration at noon at Music Hall in Over-the-Rhine.

Additionally, Hoxworth Blood Center is hosting a blood drive at the Freedom Center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday at the Freedom Center with support from Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha fraternity and Be The Match. A donor bus will also be parked at Music Hall from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. All donors will receive a free commemorative tumbler, as well as free admission to the Kinsey Collection at the Freedom Center. 

Be The Match, an organization dedicated to providing unrelated marrow and stem cell donors to patients needing a life-saving donor match, will be onsite registering individuals for the bone marrow registry and providing information.

"It is the privilege and honor of Hoxworth Blood Center to partner with these organizations for another Martin Luther King, Jr. Day blood drive," said Alecia Lipton, Hoxworth spokesperson. "Dr. King placed a great deal of importance on service, unity, and community. The act of giving blood is an excellent way to honor Dr. King and his values." 

Littisha Bates, associate professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati, will serve as the keynote speaker at Music Hall. With 2018 marking the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, Bates will focus her remarks on his radical message of justice and equality and what challenges face us today. The award-winning MLK Chorale, under the direction of Steve Milloy, will perform traditional and contemporary pieces, being joined for one number by an interfaith student choir. Additional highlights include special recognition of retired Judge Nathaniel Jones and an original poem from WordPlay Cincy Scribes. 

Metro’s Rosa Parks Bus, dedicated to the spirit of Mrs. Parks, will participate in the march, providing limited seating for those unable to make the one mile walk from the Freedom Center to Music Hall. Many area religious leaders will participate during the march and later at Music Hall.

Prior to the free march, a ticketed breakfast will be held at 8 a.m. Monday at the Freedom Center. The breakfast features performing arts presentations as well as the 2018 MLK Jr. Dream Awards. Awardees include youth and community leaders who embody the spirit of Dr. King and endeavor to keep his legacy alive.

All events except the Legacy Awards Breakfast are free and open to the public. For more information visit