It’s been 51 years since Martin Luther King Jr. was
assassinated. Since then, he's left a legacy far beyond his birthplace of Atlanta.
Born Jan. 15, 1929, the activist dedicated his life to fighting injustices — including leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott and assisted in the Selma marches— until his untimely death on April 4, 1968. King would’ve been 90 this year.
Last year, nearly 2,000 people retraced part of King’s funeral procession to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death. For this year’s King Day — Monday, Jan. 21 — counties, including DeKalb, are holding events to honor the civil rights activist, while hosting improvement events in their own communities.
Here are a few DeKalb events that honor King:
DeKalb County celebration
King Day honors kick off Friday, Jan. 18 in DeKalb, when the county hosts its 35th MLK Celebration. “King’s Vision: Humanity Tied in a Single Garment of Destiny” will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive in Decatur. Juanita Baranco, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Baranco Automotive Group, will be the keynote speaker and jazz trumpeter Milkshake Mayfield and his wife, vocalist Tine, are the event’s musical guests. The county will also honor This Is It BBQ & Seafood owner Shelley “Butch” Anthony III and Matthews Cafeteria’s Charles Greene with the Nathaniel Mosby Humanitarian Award.
Brookhaven MLK Day dinner, program
Now in its fourth year, Brookhaven will hosts its MLK Day Dinner and Program at Lynwood Park. The park is home to the historic Lynwood Community Center which was once the site of the segregated Lynwood schools. The students integrated the DeKalb School system in 1968, the year King was killed. Former Lynwood Park resident U.S. Army Brigadier General Richard Dix will be the keynote speaker. The event will be held 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21 at the Lynwood Community Center on 3360 Osborne Road. Tickets for the event are on sale for $10 each and can be purchased at the Lynwood Community Center.
Decatur MLK Service Project
For three days, volunteers can restore the homes of Decatur seniors. Since 2003, the Decatur Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project has provided free home maintenance and yard work. In 2017, the project helped 33 senior households with 1,200 volunteers. This year’s project will take place Saturday and Monday, Jan. 19 and Jan. 21. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 20 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers can sign up for shifts here and will meet at the Solarium at the Community Center of South Decatur, 321 W. Hill St. in the Oakhurst section of Decatur 30 minutes before shifts start.
Dunwoody MLK Day of service
The city of Dunwoody is hosting a day of service in honor of MLK Day. Volunteers can sign up to plant trees (or daffodils), spend time at a local senior living center or complete projects at Community Assistance Center, which provides assistance to the homeless community in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody. Those interested can sign up at the Dunwoody Parks Registration Portal. Volunteers will check-in at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21 at the pavilion at Brook Run Park at 4770 N. Peachtree Road in Dunwoody.
DeKalb NAACP Annual MLK Celebration
On MLK Day, Monday, Jan. 21, the DeKalb County NAACP branch will host is 17th annual parade honoring the civil rights champion. The parade will also honor Vietnam veterans and highlight DeKalb County sanitation workers. King was in Memphis advocating for black sanitation workers rights when he was shot and killed there in 1968. Several bands from DeKalb County School District will also participate in the parade. Opening ceremonies will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Green Pastures Christian Church with the parade following at noon. Daughters of the late DeKalb school board member and county NAACP executive board member Ms. Sara Copelin-Wood will serve as grand marshals.
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