MLK Commemorates 400th Anniversary of Chattel Slavery Ahead of MLK Day 2019

The Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition announces a series of events for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 21, 2019. This is the MLK Coalition’s 44th annual celebration of the holiday in Cincinnati, dedicated to keeping Dr. King’s legacy vibrant in our community. The theme for the 2019 events is 400 years of Enslavement: It Stops With Us. This year’s keynote speaker is Reverend Derek Terry, a renowned an activist, writer, lecturer, and pastor of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Cincinnati. Reverend Terry will reflect on a legacy of oppression and resistance, and calling the audience to act. Rev. Terry states, “After 400 years of being denied equality and the same liberty and justice extended to everyone else, we now say— NO MORE! We too sing America! Fairness, equality, economic/political power, and the like are not just for America’s white European Christian population — the oppression, marginalization, and disenfranchisement of nonwhite citizens must come to an end. 400 years is too long. It stops with us.” The MLK Chorale, under the direction of Lois Shegog, will perform moving spirituals and and other selections, being joined for some pieces by an interfaith children’s choir. A student poet from Cincinnati’s WordPlay will offer spoken word reflections on the theme.

Events Free and Open to the Public: Sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition
10:30 a.m. Commemorative Civil Rights March begins at the Freedom Center
11: 00 a.m. Fountain Square, Interfaith Prayer Service followed by march to Music Hall
12 p.m. Music Hall, MLK Commemorative Celebration

MLK Day events begin at 8:00 AM with the ticketed 2019 King Legacy Awards Breakfast sponsored by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition. Tickets for the breakfast may be purchased by calling 513-333-7706.

At 10:30, following the breakfast, 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 and then continue the march to Music Hall. This annual Commemorative Civil Rights March, which has been held in Cincinnati every year since Ohio declared MLK Day a state holiday in 1975, draws nearly a thousand people to reaffirm their commitment to Dr. King’s legacy and his tireless work for justice, equality and freedom.

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

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