Home Local News Nashville celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2024

Nashville celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2024

by PRIDE Newsdesk
Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday in the United States that is observed on the third Monday of January each year. The holiday was established to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister and civil rights leader who played a key role in the American civil rights movement. King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of a Baptist minister and grew up in a middle-class family. As a young man, King was deeply influenced by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and the principles of non-violent resistance. He became involved in the civil rights movement while studying at Morehouse College and later earned a Ph.D. in theology from Boston University. King’s activism and leadership were crucial in the efforts to end segregation and discrimination against African Americans in the United States. He worked tirelessly to promote civil rights and equality, and his powerful speeches and non-violent protests helped to bring about significant changes in laws and attitudes towards race in America. Despite facing significant challenges and dangers, King remained committed to his cause. He was arrested numerous times and was even the target of assassination attempts. However, he refused to be discouraged and continued to fight for justice and equality. On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had gone to support a strike by sanitation workers. His death sent shock waves around the world and sparked widespread outrage and grief. In the years following King’s death, there were efforts to establish a national holiday to honor his memory. In 1979, a bill was introduced in Congress to create a holiday honoring King, but it was not signed into law until 1986. The holiday was first observed on January 20, 1986, and was later moved to the third Monday of January as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Listed here are a few of the local events honoring the legacy of Dr. King.

The Civil Rights Collection

The Civil Rights Collection at the Nashville Public Library features black and white photos from the Civil Rights era in Nashville and a circular table in the center of the room representing the lunch counters of Nashville locations of many sit-in protests that fueled the Civil Rights Movement.

January 12-15
IMF Celebration

The annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration hosted by the Interdenominational Misters Fellowship (IMF) will take place through Monday, January 15. This year’s theme, ‘Why We Can’t Wait: Activating Our Power for Equity in Justice,’ will center the 2024 events around the six principles of non-violence and Dr. Martin Luther King’s book Why We Can’t Wait, a classic exploration of the events and forces behind the Civil Rights Movement. Activities include:
2024 Labor and Human Rights Breakfast
Friday, Jan 12, 7:30—9:30 am

Scarritt Bennett Conference Center
1027 18th Ave. S.
The 2024 MLK Day Labor & Human Rights Breakfast is hosted by the IMF and coordinated by the Central Labor Council of Nashville & Middle Tenn. and the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. The Labor & Human Rights Breakfast will take place Friday, January 12, at the Scarritt Bennett Center in Nashville. Doors open at 7:30 am, with the event program running from 8–9:30 am, CST.
The theme for this year’s MLK Day Nashville events is ‘Why We Can’t Wait: Activating our Power for Justice and Equity.’ This year’s Labor & Human Rights Breakfast will be emcee’d by Vonda McDaniel, president of the Central Labor Council of Nashville & Middle Tenn.
This year’s program will feature keynote speaker, Rev Daryl G. Gray.

Nashville MLK Day Youth Symposium
Saturday, Jan 13, 9—2:30 pm

MLK Academic Magnet School
613 17th Ave N.
Youth Symposium Workshops include:
1) The ‘Activism: Build Your Platform’ workshop will diversify the meaning of advocacy and guide young people in recognizing their strengths and leadership abilities. Young people will participate in a strength finder’s course to assess skills that will assist them in influencing the future of social justice. This is an interactive workshop that will use simulations in which young people are encouraged to initiate team building and discussion to amplify various types of activism.
2) The ‘Be in the Know: Public Health & Environmentalism’ workshop is focused on learning about health and environmental disparities that impact us locally. Attendees will implement collaborative projects that will model sustainability to improve physical and environmental well-being. There will be informative sessions on the intersectionality of both the medical and ecological needs that will affect the future of young people. Young people will address urban planning and climate-friendly alternatives so they can create outlines of how to enhance equity within public health.
3) ‘Next Step Opportunities’ is a service-oriented workshop that allows students to navigate resources as they transition into adulthood. This includes learning about entrepreneurship, internships, apprenticeship, or a specified trade. This workshop will include college counselors, business professionals, and student leaders to encourage the abilities and aspirations of the next wave of dreamers. Students will gain insight into the opportunity that is cultivated through networking, building their portfolio, and accessing a future of hope and success.
4) ‘Influence of Media: Honoring Messages of Hope’ is a workshop that is focused on celebrating creative mediums. Attendees within this space will sample the craft of their choice to create an original piece with the theme of justice and legacy of MLK in mind. Attendees can reflect on or present their work, which will be guided by equity-oriented prompts. Honoring a space of creativity, this workshop will include local poets, musicians, actors, and more.

Intergenerational Panel
Saturday, Jan 13, 9:20—10:30 am

MLK Academic Magnet School
613 17th Ave N.
An intergenerational panel will discuss how their activism, knowledge, opportunities, and messaging has influenced their leadership and advocacy.

Power and Promise of Equitable Education
Sunday, Jan 14, 3—5 pm

Place Wightman Chapel at Scarritt Bennett Center
1027 18th Ave. S.
A moderated panel discussion focused on the faith African Americans have placed in education to obtain equity and freedom with Black women leading prominent educational institutions in Nashville:
• Dr. Glenda Glover, president of Tennessee State University
• Dr. Adrienne Battle, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools
• Dr. Shanna L. Jackson, president of Nashville State Community College

MLK March in 2020

MLK Day annual March to Gentry
Monday, Jan 15, 7:30—9 am

Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church,
2708 Jefferson St.
Join as our community comes together to pay homage to the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fight for social justice and civil rights. The theme, ‘Why We Can’t Wait: Activating Our Power for Equity in Justice,’ will center the 2024 events around the six principles of non-violence and Dr. Martin Luther King’s book Why We Can’t Wait, a classic exploration of the events and forces behind the Civil Rights Movement. Pre-convocation events will begin at 7:30 am which will include access to the Rep Your Voice Room where youth can create posters for the annual March to Gentry and stage performances by local artists. Once again, the Kenny Smoov Morning Show crew from 92Q/Cumulus Radio will join with a live remote.

January 13
Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation

Fisk University will have a special ceremony to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 11 am-4 pm.

January 13 and 15
MLK Commemorative Event

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Series was established in 1985 at Vanderbilt University. Commemorating King’s life and legacy, the university community gathers annually on this national holiday for a series of programs, including participation in the city-wide march, community service, educational forums, and lectures. In honoring King, Vanderbilt University affirms its own commitment to the goals of peace and racial justice to which King dedicated his life.

January 13-15
MLK Celebration: Rise Up, Stand Firm, Speak Out

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Program was established in January of 1997 at Belmont University as a celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Events are held each January as part of the observance of Dr. King’s birthday. Each of these events are open to the Belmont community and to the public. All are welcome and invited to attend.

On Sunday, January 14, the Nashville Symphony will hold its annual concert ‘Let Freedom Sing,’ at the Schermerhorn. The annual concert honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Jeffrey Ames conducts the Nashville Symphony, Celebration Chorus, Celebration Youth Chorus, and special guests during this inspiring evening of classical works, songs, spirituals and more.

January 14
Let Freedom Sing

The Nashville Symphony’s annual Let Freedom Sing concert honors the life, legacy, and triumphs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. This free annual celebration features classical works and popular songs that affirm equal rights and social justice.

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