Freedom Center Honors the Contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Local Freedom Heroes with Weekend of Activities

CINCINNATI – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the MLK Coalition will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a weekend of activities, including a breakfast and program highlighting the contributions of previous King Legacy Award recipients on January 19.

Martin Luther King jrThe breakfast will honor the courageous actions of past honorees and Civil Rights icons in hopes of inspiring future generations and freedom heroes. “While each year we commemorate the freedom fighters who came before us, we are hoping this year’s program encourages the newly emerging leaders who have reignited this spirit,” said Christina Brown of the MLK Coalition. “We are all witnessing a movement and it’s important to capture the parallels between the victories of the past with the struggles of the present. This is certainly what you can expect from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2015.”

The programs will feature musical selections from the Mass Choir of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Glendale, Ohio, remarks from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center president, Clarence G. Newsome, Ph.D., and reflections from past honorees. In addition to the breakfast, the museum will open free to the public, where visitors can participate in family-friendly activities throughout the day. Visitors will also have the opportunity to experience the new temporary exhibit, Power of the Vote, which explores and chronicles the history of voting rights in America from the Reconstruction Era to the Civil Rights Movements to present day.

“The exhibit is so powerful because it not only educates, it inspires,” said Clarence G. Newsome, Ph.D., president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “It serves as a timely reminder to current and future generations that the birthright of voting was not originally open to all – it was a hard fought right for African Americans and other minorities, a right that must be exercised responsibly and frequently.”

MLK Day Weekend Schedule of Events

Saturday, Jan. 17

3 p.m. Town Hall Panel Discussion: A public conversation focusing on the progress made in Cincinnati since the civil unrest of 2001. Additionally, the discussion will provide the public with tools that will enable them to tackle difficult issues regarding interactions between community members and law enforcement.

Panelists include:
Alphonse Gerhardstien, civil rights activist and attorney
Dr. Floyd Weatherspoon, Associate Dean for Dispute Resolution Programs and Professor of Law at Capital University Law School
Iris Roley, Cincinnati activist and community leader
Judge Susan Dlott, former U.S. District Court Judge
Bishop Bobby Hilton, Ph.D., Senior Pastor of Word of Deliverance for the World, Inc.
Rev. Damon Lynch III, Pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church
Michael Battle, D.Min., executive vice president/provost of the Freedom Center will serve as panel moderator
Clarence G. Newsome, Ph.D., will provide closing remarks

Monday, Jan. 19, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

8 a.m. 40th annual King Legacy Awards Breakfast in partnership with MLK Coalition honoring civic leaders in our community.

10:30 a.m. Martin Luther King Day March leaves Freedom Center towards Fountain Square.

11 a.m. Freedom Center opens FREE to the public, open until 5 p.m. Activities include interactive stations, historical interpreters, dramatic readings and more. Hoxworth Blood Drive with prizes with donors. Free admission includes admission to special exhibit, Power of the Vote.

11:15 a.m. Inter-faith prayer service on Fountain Square.

Noon March continues from Fountain Square to Music Hall

Share your experience via Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #NURFCMLKDay

About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) opened August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to walk in courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at