MLK Coalition

Ann Thompson / WVXU

This year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Cincinnati commemoration focused on how music has communicated a non-violent message and how people can continue to lift their voices to make a difference. Hundreds braved the cold Monday to march from the Freedom Center to Fountain Square and then to Music Hall.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Songs that carried the Freedom Movement will be center stage Monday as a music historian examines how it scripted a "narrative of liberation." This Music Hall MLK program culminates a day that begins with a Freedom Center breakfast, a Fountain Square prayer service and a march.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The MLK Coalition is remembering civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. with the 44th annual commemorative march from the Freedom Center, an interfaith prayer service on Fountain Square, and a program at Music Hall Monday.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Chilly temperatures, icy patches and snowflakes didn't discourage hundreds of people from marching ten blocks through Downtown Cincinnati to proclaim Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of unity Monday.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

"If Not Now, When?" the theme of Monday's Cincinnati MLK civil rights march, prayer service and commemorative celebration, focuses on Dr. King's message of justice and equality while looking at the challenges of today.


This year's MLK Cincinnati theme is anything but the peacemaking message of years past. Titled "Unfair, Unequal, Unacceptable," organizer Christina Brown says speakers will not be focusing on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Hundreds of people braved single-digit temperatures Monday marching from the Freedom Center and Fountain Square to Music Hall for a 90-minute celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.

This year's event focused on attracting more young people with music and poetry.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Look for a more youthful presence at this year's Martin Luther King Jr., Music Hall celebration, complete with  lots of upbeat music and poetry, busloads of kids from NKU and UC with attendees taking pictures and tweeting about it.

Organizers decided the old way of doing things, a three hour program with a keynote speaker, was losing people's energy. Board member Christina Brown said, "We weren't sure if young people were connecting to more than just King's image. Did they understand King's ideologies and did they see him as a relevant figure?"

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hundreds marched through the streets of Cincinnati Monday celebrating the life and memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. The march culminated with the  MLK, Jr. Coalition's 40th annual program at Music Hall.

Michael Keating

A breakfast and prayer service start off Monday's Martin Luther King, Jr Day events. The celebration culminates with a program at Music Hall.

MLK Coalition President Jay Payne says there won't be a keynote speaker this year.

"We have three youth group presenters who are presenting in a more spoken word and theater tradition," says Payne.

Payne says that theme is Continuing King's legacy. The 40th annual civil rights march begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Freedom Center. It continues on to Fountain Square and to the annual celebration at Music Hall at noon.

The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day program, presented by the local MLK Coaltion, happens Monday, January 19 at Music Hall. Joining Jim Stump to talk about the arts components in this year’s program are Michael Burnham (spoken word) and Steve Milloy (director/conductor of the MLK Coalition Chorale.)