20 2020

35th Annual City-County King Holiday Observance (King Coalition, JFM)


Overture Center for the Arts 201 State Street
Capitol Theater
Madison, WI 53703

Contact Gloria Hawkins
(608) 335-8339

The official Madison and Dane County commemoration will include an inspirational keynote address, music, and more.

Freedom Songs at 5:00 pm · Program at 6:00 pm

Keynote Speaker: Joyce Ann Ladner, Civil Rights Activist, Author, Civil Servant & Sociologist

Martin Luther King, Jr Humanitarian Awards: The awards, presented by the Madison Mayor and Dane County Executive during the annual observance, honor a lifetime of achievement fostering Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community.

About the Keynote Speaker
Joyce Ann Ladner Civil Rights Activist, Author, Civil Servant & Sociologist Joyce Ladner’s life has been shaped through her first-hand involvement with the civil rights movement in Mississippi, including her work as a staff member alongside Bayard Rustin and other civil rights leaders that organized the March on Washington in 1963. As a teenager, she helped organize an NAACP Youth Chapter in her hometown, she was expelled from college for organizing a civil rights protest, and she was jailed for attempting to integrate an all-white church. She was a friend and worked with slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, as well as civil rights pioneers Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker. As a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), she was on the front lines of most of the major civil rights protests of the sixties. She was on the stage when Dr. Martin Luther King delivered the “I Have A Dream” speech. An eminent sociologist, she was a pioneer in the study of the intersectionality of race, gender, and class. Her book, Tomorrow’s Tomorrow: The Black Woman was the first book published in African American Women’s Studies and is now an American classic.

This event is co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Madison and is the capstone of a series of events hosted by the King Coalition to commemorate the King Holiday.

More King Coalition Programs

Join the MLK Community Choir: The MLK Community Choir is open to all Dane County citizens. Led by noted local musician Leotha Stanley, this Multicultural Choir is assembled specifically to perform at the City-County Observance on Monday evening. Rehearsals: Tuesday, January 14, 7:00 pm & Saturday, January 18, 11:00 am at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2019 Fisher Street

32nd Annual Free Community Dinner: Friday, January 17, 4:30 pm - 7:00 pm, at the UW Gordon, 770 W. Dayton Street, 2nd Floor. The Dinner provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to enjoy a meal together in Dr. King’s spirit. 

MLK Ecumenical Service: This ecumenical service on Sunday, January 19, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm, location to be announced, will bring together people from diverse religious traditions, socioeconomic statuses, ethnicities and political beliefs for a service to join together in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood to honor Dr. King’s dream of a “beloved community." 

MLK Youth Call to Service: Monday, January 20, 11:30 am - 6:00 pm at Madison Central Library. Must pre-register: aschilcher@ulgm.org

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. King Coalition events encourage the people of Dane County to reaffirm their commitment to building a just community out of our racial, religious and economic diversity.

Other Community Events

I Have a Dream Scholarship Ball (hosted by Women in Focus) on Saturday, January 18, at 6:00 pm. Get Tickets >

Youth Recognition Breakfast (hosted by Urban League) on Sunday, January 19, at 7:30 am. Learn More | Get Tickets >

MLK Day Youth Program (hosted by First Congregational UCC, in conjunction with Beth Israel Center and Madison Christian Community) on Monday, January 20, at 9:00 am - 2:30 pm. More Details & Register >

Download King Holiday Observance Event Flyer