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Ways to Celebrate MLK Day in Athens

Freedom Breakfast: The 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Breakfast is an annual tradition recognizing individuals from the community who have made significant contributions to social justice, race relations, justice or human rights. The breakfast and presentation of the President’s Fulfilling the Dream Award will be held Friday, Jan. 18 at 8 a.m. in the Grand Hall of the UGA Tate Student Center. Tickets are $25 and must be reserved in advance by emailing

Visions of MLK: Hosted by community activist Montu Miller, the 12th annual “Visions of MLK” exhibition at the Lyndon House Arts Center invited poets and artists of all mediums to create works reflecting this year’s theme, “Peaceful Resistance: Letter(s) From a Birmingham Jail.” A free community celebration on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 1–3 p.m. will include performances by DJ Chief Rocka, hip-hop artists Motorhead 2x and LB, gospel acts On Fire for God and Eric Johnson, step teams Blue Dynasty and Kaotic Step Team, WiseXpressions Dance Studio, Devas Tigerettes and poet T-Man. A poetry-in-motion play called “The Letter” will star Travis Williams and feature poetry by The Talented Mr. Winfrey, Celest Ngeve, Life the Griot, Angie the Arsonist and S.H.E.D. In addition to the visual artwork on display, highlights include youth art activities, games of chess and snacks from DaMunchiezz Food Truck.

Broderick Flanigan: While at the Lyndon House, make sure to spend time with “Sitting with the Elders: Stories of Black Athenians,” a series of new paintings by Broderick Flanigan. Born and raised in Athens, Flanigan often fuses art and activism through his endeavors. He opened Flanigan’s Portrait Studio in the Triangle Plaza in 2014, and established a teen mural program called Helping Art Reach Public Spaces (HARPS). His latest portraits seek to amplify the voices and legacies of important local figures. The artist will give a presentation on his work, artistic progress and research on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 1:30 p.m., followed by a closing reception and roundtable discussion with elders from the community.

Awards Banquet: The 40th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Banquet will be held at the Classic Center on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. Featuring keynote speaker Demond Means, the banquet will award high-school students scholarships from the Athens Area Human Relations Council. Tickets are $45 and can be reserved by calling 706-338-9301.

MLK Day of Service: Committed to making the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday “A Day On and Not a Day Off,” the 17th annual MLK Day of Service offers an opportunity to honor MLK’s legacy by helping to make the community a better place. A kickoff celebration will be held from 8:30–9:30 a.m. at Cedar Shoals High School, where several guests will speak over a light breakfast and the first 300 registered volunteers will receive free T-shirts. More than 20 different projects are currently seeking help, with activities ranging from digitizing the resource library at Nuçi’s Space to tidying up the historic Brooklyn Cemetery, working in the flower beds at Acceptance Recovery Center, cleaning up Carr Creek and tidying up Bear Hollow Zoo. Volunteers can register for projects through
The West Broad School will host its first MLK Jr. Service Market from 12–1:30 p.m. In lieu of a traditional farmers market, the service market aims to connect community organizations with supporters. The event includes a lunch for volunteers, live entertainment and guest speaker Dunta Robinson.

MLK Day Parade: Local businesses, community groups and performers will come together for the third annual Athens MLK Day Parade and Music Fest on Monday, Jan. 21. The parade kicks off at 3 p.m. in the Hot Corner area downtown, and will be followed by a ceremony honoring African-American elders at Manhattan, a family and teen talent showcase at Little Kings and hip-hop performances at The World Famous. Several food vendors and community group booths will be lined up along the block. Produced by the United Group of Artists Music Association, the celebration will benefit the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement.

Hot Corner Mural: The Athens Cultural Affairs Commission is currently seeking proposals from professional artists across the nation for “Hot Corner: An Athens Legacy,” a mural that will be installed onto an exterior wall of the historic Morton Theatre. Half of the mural’s $24,000 budget is supported by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the project aims to celebrate the rich history of Hot Corner, which has served as a locus of African-American entrepreneurship throughout the past century. The mural’s unveiling will coincide with the annual Hot Corner Festival in June. The deadline to submit proposals is Sunday, Jan. 27 at 11:59 p.m., and guidelines can be found at