By Dr. Ericka King-Betts 


MLK Coalition of Cincinnati 

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition announces our 45th annual events in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 20.  Keynote speaker Dr. Tammy Kernodle, professor of musicology at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, will offer reflections on the theme “Sounds of Struggle…Songs of Freedom.”  Between performances by the award-winning MLK Chorale, under the direction of Lois Shegog, Kernodle will explore the songs that have carried the spirit of freedom movements of the past into the present day. Additional performances will be presented by the Nouveau Chamber Players, a CSO youth ensemble, by WordPlay’s Cincy Scribes, and by an interfaith children’s choir. 

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition is dedicated to keeping Dr. King’s legacy vibrant in Cincinnati. In that spirit, the coalition sponsors the following free public events: 

  •      10:30 a.m. Commemorative Civil Rights March begins at the Freedom Center
  •      11a.m. Fountain Square, Interfaith Prayer Service followed by march to Music Hall
  •      12 p.m. Music Hall, MLK Commemorative Program

Kernodle is a musician and scholar who teaches in the areas of African American music, American music, and gender studies in music. Her outstanding career includes serving as a scholarly consultant for the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s inaugural exhibits titled Musical Crossroads. 

MLK Day events begin at 8 a.m. with the ticketed 2020 King Legacy Awards Breakfast sponsored by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition. Tickets for the breakfast may be purchased by calling 513 333-7706 or visiting 

At 10:30, following the breakfast, hundreds of people will gather outside the Freedom Center’s Harriet Tubman Theater. After brief remarks and prayers, marchers will proceed to Fountain Square for an interfaith prayer service and then continue the march to Music Hall. This annual Commemorative Civil Rights March, which has been held in Cincinnati every year since Ohio declared MLK Day a state holiday in 1975, draws over a thousand people to reaffirm their commitment to Dr. King’s legacy and his tireless work for justice, equality, and freedom. 

All are free and open to the public events except the Legacy Awards Breakfast. For more information, visit or contact Louise Lawarre at 

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