OWU hosting MLK celebration


To honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Delaware County MLK Day Committee and Ohio Wesleyan University will host the 31st annual community celebration at noon Jan. 15, 2024, at the university.

“As a nod to ‘Embracing Change,’ this celebration will continue to raise scholarship money for local graduating students,” the committee states. “We are changing the format to an afternoon program to ensure that more community members can attend, which we hope will translate into more scholarship money for local students.”

The event will feature keynote speaker Hasan Jeffries, Ph.D., associate professor of History at The Ohio State University and author of “Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt,” and emcee Tracy Townsend, “Wake Up CBUS” news anchor and medical correspondent for WBNS-10TV (CBS) in Columbus.

Jeffries’ book is described as a “remarkable story of the people of rural Lowndes County, a small Southern town, who in 1966 organized a radical experiment in democratic politics.” He also is the editor of “Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement,” a collection of essays by leading Civil Rights scholars and teachers that explores how to teach the Civil Rights movement accurately and effectively.

Jeffries graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Morehouse College, where he was initiated into the Pi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. He later earned his doctoral degree in American history with a specialization in African American history from Duke University. He taught for a year at the University of Alabama before joining Ohio State in 2003.

Townsend grew up in Cincinnati, graduated from Ohio State, and continued her studies at Georgetown University, with a focus on economics and political journalism. Before joining WBNS-TV, she worked at WBBM-TV in Chicago, KCTV in Kansas City, and WKRC-TV in Cincinnati. A multiple Emmy winner, Townsend is involved in the Central Ohio community and is an active graduate member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Doors will open at 11 a.m. for the Jan. 15 celebration, with the program running from noon to 1 p.m. in the Benes Rooms of Ohio Wesleyan’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware.

The event will include refreshments and performances by the Columbus Adventist Academy Children’s Choir, directed by Tamaria Kulameka, and Ohio Wesleyan’s Spoken Word. To purchase tickets, visit https://bit.ly/EmbracingChange2024. Online purchases will continue through Jan. 8.

Proceeds continue to benefit the Delaware County Martin Luther King Scholarship Program, which has awarded more than $34,000 in scholarships to Delaware County students since 1990. This year’s recipients, Ava Johnson and Sophia Guerra, will be recognized at the event. Learn more about the 2024 “Embracing Change” celebration at www.owu.edu/MLK.

Submitted by Ohio Wesleyan University

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