Chapel Hill Celebrates Life and Legacy of Dr. King

Post Date:01/11/2018 3:31 PM
PHOTO Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Service Schedule

Most municipal offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 15, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Employee Sharing Event

Employees have held their own special observance of Dr. King’s legacy for 20 years and counting at the Town of Chapel Hill.

Usually held the Friday before the Monday holiday, the internal celebration has been nurtured by a dedicated group of Public Works employees led by Maggie Burnett and Fred Battle. At the urging of Town Manager Roger Stancil, the celebration has grown to include employees of all departments.

Employees gather to recognize Dr. King’s guiding principles of non-violence, brotherhood, justice, morality and action. Some employees entered a poetry contest, with the winning poems displayed during the month of February on Chapel Hill Transit buses.

Previous years’ employee celebrations are documented on the Town’s YouTube channel at


Chapel Hill Marks 33 Years of Observing Dr. King’s Legacy

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday has been observed as a U.S. federal holiday since 1986.

Chapel Hill has observed the day as a town holiday since 1984. Chapel Hill was one of the first communities in North Carolina to declare Martin Luther King Jr. Day a municipal holiday.


Naming of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

On May 8, 2005, the Town Council dedicated Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, which had been renamed from Airport Road. View the video ( that documented the ceremony and subsequent procession to Hargraves Center (where Dr. King had visited 45 years earlier – on May 8, 1960).

It was a day of fellowship and brotherhood for our community. The video includes interviews of Bill Thorpe, Fred Battle, Eugene Farrar, Nate Davis, Delores Clark, Garland King Jr., Lillian Lee, Jamie Riggsbee, Marie Mann, Annie Butzen, Jen Gard, Maria Palmer, Creighton Irons, Eleanor Murray and others.


Community Celebrations Honoring Dr. King


UNC-Chapel Hill MLK Week of Celebration

UNC will host several events including:

  • Sunday, Jan. 14: University/Community MLK Banquet at the Friday Center
  • Monday, Jan. 15: MLK Day of Service 5K at the Campus Y
  • Tuesday, Jan. 16: Unity Dinner at the Great Hall and “He Was a Poem, He Was a Song” at Stone Center
  • Wednesday, Jan. 17: Candlelight Vigil—Warriors of Freedom a the Stone Center Amphitheater
  • Thursday, Jan. 18: MLK Celebration Keynote Lecture and Awards Ceremony at Memorial Hall


More information and details at


MLK Day Rally and March at Peace and Justice Plaza

A rally led by the UNC College Chapter and Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Youth Council begins at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at the Peace and Justice Plaza, 179 E. Franklin St. The featured speaker is Quinton Harper, an activist and community organizer. Followed with a march to First Baptist Church.

At 10 a.m., there will be coffee and conversation on “MLK 50 Years Later.” From 11 to 12:30 p.m., there will be a commemorative church service with NC Senator Valerie Foushee as keynote speaker.


An Evening with Regina Gale and Dr. King

Regina Gale, author, poet and speaker, will entertain with powerful readings, an array of jazzy songs, uplifting stories of hope and the message to never stop dreaming.

The free event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill, 2551 Homestead Road. Register by Wednesday, Jan. 10, by calling (919) 968-2070.


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