Events in Rochester to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Preview to MLK Day Community Celebration

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday to honor the Civil Rights Movement leader, takes place on Monday, Jan. 15. Here are some of the events in the Rochester area to honor the legacy of Dr. King:

MLK commemorative address at the University of Rochester (Friday)

The U of R will hold its annual commemorative address to promote diversity, freedom, civil rights, and social justice at the Douglass Leadership House. The public event starts at 6 p.m. and you can register here.

This year’s speaker is Rachel Swarns, a journalist who wrote for the New York Times for 22 years. Her stories explored race relations and the lasting impact of slavery in the U.S. She is also the author of the book “The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church” which was named among the best books of 2023 by multiple publications.

Annual MLK Day Community Celebration of Kodak Hall (Monday)

The Greater Rochester Martin Luther King Jr. Commission will host its 39th annual community celebration at Kodak Hall inside the Eastman Theatre.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the event starts at 8:50 a.m. The event featuring music, poetry, discussion, and guest speakers will run through 10:40 a.m.

Rochester’s Martin Luther King Community Choir will perform at the ceremony. News10NBC got a sneak peak at their rehearsal on Thursday night at the First Genesis Baptist Church.

The celebration will also include a panel called the “State of Black Rochester” where local leaders will address four main topics: the effects of COVID, lack of community, urban vs. suburban Black experience, and excitement about new Black leadership.

Black Storytelling League at Brighton Memorial Library (Monday)

The Black Storytelling League of Rochester is holding a free event at the Brighton Memorial Library from 11 a.m. to noon. The group will share stories about history, heritage, and culture.

How to watch the commemoration of MLK Day in Albany

You can watch New York State’s annual commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on television. WXXI will broadcast the ceremony starting at 9 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15. You can see broadcast times in other viewing areas here.

The one-hour tribute to the civil rights icon took place at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany on Monday, Jan. 8. It featured people and organizations across the state who are working to advice social justice, freedom, equality, and other things that Dr. King fought for.

News10NBC’s coverage of local legacy of Dr. King: Last year marked 55 years since the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis. News10NBC’s Deanna Dewberry sat down with Black local leaders from our past, present, and our future to ask, “What would you tell Martin Luther King about the current state of civil rights?” You can see their responses here.

Last year also marked 60 years since the March on Washington, when hundreds of thousands of people called for civil rights, fair wages, and better job opportunities for African Americans. News10NBC wondered how the march and King’s speech was portrayed in newspapers the day of the speech and the day after. You can see what we found here.