Freedom Center announces keynote, performers for King Legacy Celebration

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has announced program details – including keynote speaker and the performance lineup – for its upcoming 2024 King Legacy Celebration.

The annual commemoration of the life and leadership of civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will take place Monday, Jan. 15, at the downtown Cincinnati museum. This year’s theme is Advocacy and Action.

Dr. Adren Wilson will deliver the keynote during the daytime event. Wilson is executive director of the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. His address will serve as what the Freedom Center described as an “inspiring call to action” to support the building of safe and supportive communities where boys and young men of color have more transparent and equitable pathways to opportunity at the community level.

Freedom Center President Woodrow Keown Jr. described MLK as showing the world that true change, though it may be codified at the national level, starts at the local level, right here in our communities. He described Wilson as leading a critical initiative to engage youth in their communities so that groundswell carries today’s issues to Capitol Hill and the White House.

“In 2024, we know that the talent and courageous action of the younger generation, who stand on the shoulders of Dr. King and his allies, are instrumental in driving significant social change,” Keown said. “This generation of conductors is growing up in an era of greater visibility to and participation in government. It demands greater accountability from the nation of liberty and justice for all. Nobody knows that better than Dr. Wilson.”

Adren Wilson (left) and Adrian Dunn (right)
Adren Wilson and Adrian Dunn

Programming – which begins at 8:30 a.m. – will also feature performances by Adrian Dunn and Chicago’s only all-Black professional choral ensemble, The Adrian Dunn Singers

Dunn is an acclaimed singer, composer and conductor who won The American Prize in Composition for “Requiem” from The Mass for the Unarmed Child last year.

Most recently, Dunn took home an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Live Sound for his PBS special performance of “Emancipation” at Harris Theater. Dunn composed the piece, performed by Adrian Dunn Singers and the Rize Orchestra. “Emancipation,” he said, fuses classical, gospel, hip hop and spirituals as a way to explore what it means to be Black and free in the United States today. 

The King Legacy Celebration will include a continental breakfast. Doors open at 8 a.m. The full schedule is below.

Tickets are available now.

MLK Day Schedule

King Legacy Celebration (ticket required)

  • 8 a.m. Doors open
  • 8:30 a.m. Program begins

Museum hours and programming

  • 11 a.m. Museum opens
  • 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hoxworth Blood Drive
  • 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Community information tables and self-guided activities
  • 11:30 a.m. Story time
  • 1:30 p.m. Story time
  • 2 p.m. Adrian Dunn and The Adrian Dunn Singers perform
  • 3:30 p.m. Story time
  • 5 p.m. Museum closes

King Legacy Celebration

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