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Here’s how you can celebrate MLK Day in Louisville

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Here are a few places in Louisville where you can celebrate the civil rights leader — for free.

Several events are happening around the city to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader who fought for racial equity before he was assassinated in 1968.

King had deep ties to Kentucky, too. His brother, A.D. King, was a minister at Zion Baptist Church in the Russell neighborhood.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Louisville and led marches in the city on several occasions.

Here are a few ways you can celebrate King.

The Kentucky Center

On Sunday, Kentucky Performing Arts ArtsReach and River City Drum Corp will host the “Keepers of the Dream” program at 5 p.m. in Whitney Hall.

Admission and parking in the Kentucky Center Garage will be free for the program.

This year’s program will include performances by Keen Dance Theatre, The Louisville Living Room and Joshua Percell and Courageous.

Officials with the Kentucky Center said this year’s program will highlight Black Joy and King’s vision during the civil rights movement.

Mayor Craig Greenberg will also present the 2024 Freedom Awards, an award given to two people who embody King’s ideals. This year’s recipients are Senator Gerald Neal, the first Black man elected to the Kentucky State Senate in 1989, and Carolle Jones-Clay, president of the Republic Bank Foundation.

Pre-show and post-show activities by the River City Drum Corps and Redline Performing Arts will be held in the main lobby.

52nd Annual MLK Jr. Motorcade and Peace Walk

The event is a tradition in Louisville on MLK Day. This year, it begins at 10:30 a.m. on Monday at 28th and Broadway.

The motorcade will wind through the west end to Chickasaw Park and end at King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church for a service in honor of King.

Political officials, including Mayor Craig Greenberg and Gov. Andy Beshear, are expected to speak at the event.

The Muhammad Ali Center

On Monday, the Muhammad Ali Center will have free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The “Community Free Day” will pay homage to the infamous Civil Rights leader throughout the center.

The center will show a screening of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the top of every hour.

Following the screening at 12 p.m., the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students will host “Continuing the Dream, Continuing the Legacy,” their annual youth leadership panel discussion. This year's panel will focus on applying King’s message of equality, justice and peace to today’s culture, officials with the Ali Center said in a news release.

The Muhammad Ali Center Museum Store will also offer a special promotion specifically for visitors during Community Free Day.

The Ali Center — in partnership with the Association for Teaching Black History in Kentucky — will offer a free professional development event for teachers on Jan. 15. The all-day workshop features breakout sessions for educators and a keynote address by Karyn Parson, an author and actress best known for her role as Hilary Banks on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 

Cathedral of the Assumption

On Monday, The Cathedral of the Assumption will host the 37th Annual Community Wide Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

The 10 a.m. church service will be led by Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre and the Archdiocesan Gospel Choir.

University of Louisville

On Monday at 1 p.m., the University of Louisville African American Theatre Program will host its free, annual celebration program at the Playhouse Theatre.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Dr. King’s Legacy: Young Changemakers Building Our Future: Artivism in Action."

The program will include spoken word and performances by the Central High School Choir, Band and Dance line, and the LMH Purple Rain Gospel Choir.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.

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