UK Happenings

UPDATE: MLK March Slated Jan. 20, 2020; Change in Program Speaker

photo of last year's Freedom March in downtown Lexington
The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Freedom March in downtown Lexington in 2019. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

PLEASE NOTE: The scheduled keynote speaker below for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day program had to cancel, and efforts are underway to find another speaker.  Updated information will be released as soon as possible.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2019)  The University of Kentucky and the Lexington community will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the annual march in downtown Lexington and a program featuring the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock. Since 2005 Warnock has served as the senior pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King was baptized and later ordained.

An American federal holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of January each year. The upcoming MLK Day will be celebrated Jan. 20, 2020.

Lexington’s MLK Day celebration begins with the Holiday Freedom March at 10 a.m. Participants will begin lining up at 9 a.m., inside the corridor of downtown Lexington Center's Heritage Hall on West Main Street.

After participants complete the Freedom March, the Commemorative Holiday Program will begin at 11 a.m. in Heritage Hall in the Lexington Convention Center with Warnock, who has significantly inspired and enhanced his church’s legacy of social activism. One of his projects resulted in the registration of 250,000 new voters in the state of Georgia. He has been featured on CNN, the "CBS Evening News," The Huffington Post, and in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which hailed him as “a fitting heir to the mantle once worn by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

In the tradition of his cousin Marvin Gaye, singer/composer Donnie will end the day with his politically oriented, consciousness-raising version of modern soul music.

For more details about the day’s events, visit

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.