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Join the city of Lexington in celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy

This year’s MLK Holiday Celebration will be on Jan. 15, 2024 beginning with the annual Freedom March at 1 p.m. and concluding with the powerful commemorative program held at the Central Bank Center at 2 p.m.  The March begins and ends at the Central Bank Center in downtown Lexington. 

“This storied event has been praised by media commentators and several of our illustrious speakers as ‘one of the best in the country for its consistent record of presenting thoughtful, timely and creatively uplifting programs’”, said Chester Grundy, MLK Day Event Chairperson since 1974. “We look forward to celebrating with our community and invite everyone to come together on Jan. 15.”

The MLK Holiday Observance in Lexington provides an opportunity for our community to come together to honor Dr. King’s legacy of freedom, justice, peace and equal opportunity for all Americans. The annual march and program draws participation of several thousand people from across Central Kentucky and beyond. The MLK Holiday Observance is a free public event designed to inspire the better angels of our nature as we unite as a community to elevate Dr. King’s vision and legacy. The 2023 March had a record crowd of over 8,000.

The Program keynote speaker this year is Reverend Dr. Kevin W. Cosby. The internationally renowned youth choral ensemble Uniting Voices Chicago and Uniting Voices Lexington will be the featured artists at the Commemorative Program. 

Community members can support the MLK Celebration at

MLK Planning Committee History: Lexington’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance was founded in 1973, five years after the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April, 1968. Mr. Jerry Stevens, the first Director of UK’s Office of Minority Student Affairs and Dr. Edgar Mack, faculty member in UK’s College of Social Work, served as founders and co-coordinators during the early days of this observance. They would later be joined by Chester Grundy, who upon his hiring, would take on the role of program coordinator in 1974. The MLK Holiday was originally established not only to elevate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but to establish an undergraduate scholarship in his honor. More historical details can be found at

aerial photo of large group of marchers walking in downtown Lexington to celebrate MLK day
Poster of painting of MLK raised during the march in downtown Lexington
UK President Eli Capilouto and Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton talking to march attendee during downtown Lexington's MLK day celebration march

Past Celebrations

Read about past celebrations and how the city of Lexington and its partners have joined forces to celebrate each year for more than 50 years. 

Look Back

About Dr. King

Learn more about the impact of Dr. King and why we are proud to celebrate his indelible legacy. 

Discover Purpose

Support the celebration

Discover how you can support and sponsor Lexington's MLK Day. 

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