2009 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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2009 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Posted: 01/06/2009
The MLK Commemoration Commission of Greater Knoxville has developed a series of events to commemorate the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They are all linked to the MLK Federal Holiday on January 19 and most events are scheduled on the holiday as well as during the five days proceeding the MLK holiday. 

This year, more than any other, there is reason to celebrate and reason to reaffirm hope for the future. The 2009 celebration theme is “The Beloved Community” and, in Dr. King’s own words, “We Cannot Walk Alone.” The events have been developed by community leaders who reflect a broad range of backgrounds, races, and religions and the programs are designed to pull together everyone within our community to both celebrate and also to move farther toward the goals of peace, justice, equality, and brotherhood. Unless otherwise noted, all events are open to the public without charge. The series of events will begin with an Interfaith Prayer Service on Wednesday, January 14, at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church. The service will start at noon and will feature Rabbi Louis Zivic, Father Xavier Mankel, and Reverends Kelly Smith and Chris Buice. 

On Thursday, January 15, there will be a Leadership/Diversity Symposium beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the William Blount Room of the Knoxville Marriott Hotel with the purpose of dialoguing and receiving information about social justice issues. The format will include panel, group, and community discussions. Refreshments will be provided and the Symposium will conclude just prior to the noon luncheon. 

At noon on Thursday, January 15, there will be a Leadership/Diversity Awards Luncheon at the Knoxville Marriott Hotel Ballroom. The guest speaker will be Dr. Terrance Roberts, a member of the original “Little Rock Nine.” The MLK Commission will present awards to outstanding people in the areas of education, business, and advocacy. Tickets for this luncheon event are $35 each and can be purchased at the Literacy Imperative Center, 201 Harriet Tubman St., Knoxville 37915 (865-673-8988) or at the door. 

On Friday evening, January 16, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., there will be a panel discussion at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center on Dandridge Avenue. The topic of the conversation will be “Economic Violence: Dr. King’s Vision and an Agenda for Today.” The chair of the discussion will be Ralph Hutchison of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. 

On Saturday morning, January 17, there will be a Youth Symposium with registration beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sessions for children Kindergarten through third grade will be at the Black Cultural Center on the UT Campus. Sessions for students fourth grade through adults will be held at the UT University Center. The first 300 registrants will receive a t-shirt and gift bag. Lunch will be provided and parking will be free at the University Center parking garage. Some of the activities include a puppet show, a presentation by Knoxville Zoomobile (with live animals), arts and crafts and other presentations and guest speakers. The purpose of this program is to promote action toward the realization of Dr. King’s dream. 

Also, on Saturday morning, the YWCA will sponsor the annual “Race Against Racism.” Registration will begin at 11:30 at the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center at 124 South Cruze St in Knoxville, 37915. There is an entry fee for those who participate and details of the event are at www.ywcaknox.com or by calling 865 523-6126. 

Sunday, January 18, at 6:00 p.m. will be “A Night With the Arts” at the Colston Center at Knoxville College. The program, which will be open to the public without charge, will feature a special performance by the Word Players – Knoxville’s professional faith based theatre group. The evening will also include a multicultural array of local dancers and singers as well as the presentation of the 2009 MLK Arts Award. 

The Monday, January 19, which is a federal holiday, will begin with the MLK Memorial Parade at 10:00 a.m. Step off will be from the Tabernacle Baptist Church on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and the Grand Marshall will be Ms. Lois Kelly. The parade route will cover more than two miles along Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and will end at the Greater Warner Tabernacle AME Zion Church. Beginning at 11:45, just after the parade ends, there will be a special MLK Memorial Tribute Service at the Greater Warner Tabernacle Church featuring Rev. Nelson Johnson, Pastor and Founder of Faith Community Church is Greensboro, NC. Also during that service, MLK Commission special awards will be presented in the areas of community service and distinguished service.

Monday’s celebration events will conclude with a performance by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Lucas Richman, Conductor, at 6:00 p.m. at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium. The performance will also feature the Holiday Celebration Choir, the Austin East High School West African Dance Ensemble, and the Austin East High School Chamber Orchestra. The Memorial Concert is open to the public without charge and is sponsored in part by B97.5. 

Also, as part of the MLK Celebration activities, on Tuesday, January 20, there will be a special Inaugural Luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel beginning at 9:00 a.m. where everyone can enjoy viewing the presidential inaugural ceremonies on wide screen TV. The cost for this event is $60 per person. 

For further information and other details of the 2009 MLK Celebration events, go to www.discoveret.org/mlk.