Andrew J. Young, colleague and friend to MLK, to keynote 2014 King Holiday Observance

Article courtesy of The Madison Times Weekly

By A. David Dahmer

Andrew Young

Andrew Young

MADISON — The Madison/ Dane County King Coalition is pleased to announce that the 29th annual City of Madison & Dane County observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday will feature Andrew J. Young as keynote speaker.

Young is a civil rights activist, politician, diplomat, and pastor from Georgia.

As executive director of the South Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Young was one of King’s principal lieutenants and was with King in Memphis when he was assassinated.

As a colleague and friend of King, he was a strategist and negotiator during the Civil Rights Campaigns in Birmingham, St. Augustine, Selma and Atlanta.

He helped draft the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Young has served as mayor of Atlanta, as Georgia’s first African American congressman since Reconstruction, and as United States ambassador to the UN in the Jimmy Carter administration.

The observance will serve as the capstone to a series of events commemorating the King Holiday that begin on the preceding Friday with a free community dinner.

It will take place on Monday, January 20, 2014 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Overture Center for the Arts, a stunning architectural landmark located in the heart of Madison’s thriving cultural arts district.

This year’s observance continues the population tradition that was revived last year of kicking-off with a Freedom Songs Sing-in from 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the Rotunda of the Overture Center.

The City-County Observance will then take place beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater.

MLK COMMUNITY CHOIR – The observance will also feature presentation of the City & County King Humanitarian awards by Mayor Paul Soglin and County Executive Joe Paris, a call to action, and the MLK Community Choir.

The MLK Community Choir is led by one of Madison’s most noted music directors – Leotha Stanley. Participation in the choir is open to all interested individuals.

No registration or audition is required; interested individuals need only attend the two upcoming rehearsals at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2019 Fisher Street. Rehearsals take place on Tuesday, January 14, at 7:00pm and Saturday, January 18, at 11:00 a.m.

FREE COMMUNITY DINNER – The community is also invited to attend the King Coalition’s 27th Annual Free Community Dinner, 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., on Friday, Jan. 17 at the UW-Madison’s new Gordon Commons, 770 W. Dayton St., 2nd Floor.

More than 300 community members are expected to enjoy a wonderful meal with friends, old and new, in Dr. King’s spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.

Free shuttle bus service to and from the dinner will be provided by Kobussen Buses Ltd.

Pickups are scheduled at the YWCA, 101 E Mifflin Street (departing at 5:45 p.m.) and Grace Episcopal Church, 116 W. Washington Ave. (departing at 5:55 p.m.).

YOUTH DAY OF SERVICE 2014 – Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?”

Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.

The MLK Youth Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative.

It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.

In Madison, 300 middle and high school students are expected at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery where they will learn how science and service can intersect.

The event is open to any Dane County middle or high school students and there is no cost to participate.

However, registration is limited.

Adult volunteers are also needed. Register online:

The King Coalition was established in the fall of 1985 as a community group to plan the official City of Madison and Dane County observances of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

The Coalition brings people from all walks of life together in the spirit of true brotherhood and sisterhood to commemorate the life and accomplishments of this renowned leader of the civil rights movement.