LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2023) — This year’s MLK Holiday Celebration will be Jan. 15, 2024 beginning with the annual Freedom March at 1 p.m. and concluding with the powerful commemorative program held at the Central Bank Center at 2 p.m. The march begins and ends at the Central Bank Center in downtown Lexington.
“This storied event has been praised by media commentators and several of our illustrious speakers as ‘one of the best in the country for its consistent record of presenting thoughtful, timely and creatively uplifting programs,’” said Chester Grundy, MLK Day Event chairperson since 1974. “We look forward to celebrating with our community and invite everyone to come together on Jan. 15.”
The MLK Holiday Observance in Lexington provides an opportunity for our community to come together to honor Martin Luther King’s legacy of freedom, justice, peace and equal opportunity for all Americans. The annual march and program draws participation of several thousand people from across Central Kentucky and beyond. The MLK Holiday Observance is a free public event designed to inspire the better angels of our nature as we unite as a community to elevate King’s vision and legacy. The 2023 march had a record crowd of over 8,000.
The program keynote speaker this year is Rev. Kevin W. Cosby, Ph.D. The internationally renowned youth choral ensemble Uniting Voices Chicago and Uniting Voices Lexington will be the featured artists at the commemorative program.
Community members can support the MLK Celebration at https://bgcf.givingfuel.com/mlk-holiday-committee-fund.
MLK Planning Committee History: Lexington’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance was founded in 1973, five years after the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968. Jerry Stevens, the first director of UK’s Office of Minority Student Affairs and Edgar Mack, faculty member in UK’s College of Social Work, served as founders and co-coordinators during the early days of this observance. They would later be joined by Chester Grundy, who upon his hiring, would take on the role of program coordinator in 1974. The MLK Holiday was originally established not only to elevate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. but to establish an undergraduate scholarship in his honor. More historical details can be found at https://bgcf.givingfuel.com/mlk-holiday-committee-fund.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.