Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent
The Marion-Franklin High School Red Devil Production Dance Ensemble performs during the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Breakfast.

Organizers of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the King Arts Complex want the families who attend to gain a better understanding of the civil rights movement.

The Jan. 19 day focuses not only on King but the history surrounding him, said Mark Cardwell, assistant executive director of the complex.

"If you don't understand your history, you may be doomed to repeat," he said. "Here at the King Arts Complex, we recognize the legacy of those that have gone before us."

The day is intended to be "a celebration of where we came from" as well as "where we are going," added Gale Gray, community relations coordinator for the city of Columbus. City officials see the day as an opportunity to promote cultural diversity, she said.

Many of the activities are family-friendly, Cardwell said. Children can make crafts, work on a community art project, enjoy dance and choir performances, listen to poetry and watch videos.

The 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Day March will begin at the complex and end at the Lincoln Theatre, where social activist Julian Bond will give the keynote speech. The city will organize people along the route to hold signs bearing messages about civil rights to help set the mood, Gray said. The march will go past the cultural wall on Long Street, which also will create a sense of history, she added.

If you go Monday, Jan. 19:

Time: 12 noon- 4 p.m.

Where: King Arts Complex, 867 Mount Vernon Ave., Columbus 43203

Time: 6 p.m.

Where: Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St., Columbus 43203

Time: Doors open at 7 a.m. Program begins at 7:30.

Where: Greater Columbus Convention Center, Battelle Grand ballroom, 400 N. High St., Columbus 43215

What: Keynote speech by Dr. Julius Scruggs, president of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., followed by dance and choir performances.

Cost: $40 per person