Freedom Center honors legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

CINCINNATI – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is hosting its annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. virtually this year. After a year marked by racial violence and increased calls for social justice in a deeply divided nation, the Freedom Center looks to the example of Dr. King to unite people around the cause of equity and dignity with a message of recognizing our similarities and celebrating our differences. The King Legacy Celebration will be broadcast virtually at 9 a.m. Monday, January 18.

The 2021 King Legacy Celebration theme is Justice Moving Forward. Racial tensions have escalated in the midst of a pandemic, revealing the unfinished work in achieving justice and inclusive freedom. The King Legacy Celebration will feature a keynote from news personality and Tulsa, Oklahoma native DeMarco Morgan. Tulsa was the site of one of the nation’s worst incidents of racial violence when, in 1921, mobs killed dozens of Black residents and destroyed more than 35 square blocks of Black homes and businesses. Morgan will provide a distinct perspective on the continued struggle for justice a century after the Tulsa massacre.

The event will also celebrate two honorees from the Freedom Center’s King Legacy Youth Leadership Program. Savoy Lackey from the Seven Hills School and Mason Mack from Cincinnati Country Day School will share their interpretation of Dr. King’s legacy.

“Despite the work and the progress made over the past 50 years, Dr. King’s dream remains unfulfilled, his work unfinished,” says Woody Keown, Jr., president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “As he knew it would be, the road to inclusive freedom is long and difficult, but we can take heart in knowing there is a generation coming of age in this moment ready to take the torch, ready to make equity a reality.”

The King Legacy Celebration will feature performances from world-renowned baritone Reginald Smith, courtesy of Cincinnati Opera, the Cincinnati Black Theatre Company singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “We Shall Overcome” and a spoken word performance from Walnut Hills High School student Zoe Cummings.

Registration for the King Legacy Celebration virtual program is $25. Visit freedomcenter.org/voice/event/king-legacy-celebration-21/ to register.

If you cannot attend but would like to donate to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, please visit freedomcenter.org/donate.

The King Legacy Celebration is made possible through the support of the following:

– Presenting Sponsors Union Savings Bank and Fifth Third Bank.

– Torch Sponsors Cincinnati Bell, Duke Energy, Procter & Gamble and Mr. Daman & Mrs. Barbara Turner.

– Flame Sponsors Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Reds, UC Health, University of Cincinnati, Western & Southern Financial Group and Xavier University.

– Spark Sponsors Christ Church Cathedral, Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, MLK Coalition and New Jerusalem Baptist Church.

Youth Summit January 17

Prior to the King Legacy Celebration, the Freedom Center will host an online King Legacy Youth Summit at 3 p.m. Sunday, January 17. The summit is an opportunity for youth in our community and across the country to come together to be inspired and motivated by the legacy of Dr. King. Young leaders from the high school and university levels will host conversations about the current state of our country, how youth see themselves in the country and what they’re doing to create change. The summit will include oral presentations, a question and answer segment and performances by local youth.

Registration for the virtual King Legacy Youth Summit is free.

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