To honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Delaware County Martin Luther King Day Committee and Ohio Wesleyan University are pleased to host the 31st annual community celebration, which will feature keynote speaker Dr. Hasan Jeffries, associate professor of history at The Ohio State University and author of Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama's Black Belt, accompanied by emcee Tracy Townsend, WBNS-10TV "Wake Up CBUS" news anchor and medical correspondent.

Dr. Jeffries was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated summa cum laude from Morehouse College with a B.A. in history in 1994. At Morehouse, he was initiated into the Pi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He earned a Ph.D. in American history with a specialization in African American history from Duke University in 2002. He taught for a year at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa before joining the faculty at The Ohio State University in 2003. His book Bloody Lowndes tells the remarkable story of the African American freedom movement in Lowndes County, Alabama, the birthplace of Black Power. He is also 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.

Mrs. Townsend grew up in Cincinnati and is a graduate of The Ohio State University. Her studies extended to Georgetown University, with a focus on economics and political journalism. Before joining WBNS-10TV, she worked at WBBM-TV in Chicago, KCTV in Kansas City, and WKRC-TV in Cincinnati. Townsend is involved in the Central Ohio community. She is an active graduate member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

In previous years, we have celebrated with a community breakfast. As a nod to this year's theme, Embracing Change, this celebration will continue to raise scholarship money for local graduating students, but 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 funds. This celebration will include refreshments, a performance by the CAA Children's Choir directed by Tamaria Kulameka, and a spoken word presentation by Ohio Wesleyan senior Tymir Hill of Philadelphia.

Individual tickets are $25, and sponsorship for the event is $240 for a table of eight. We encourage you, as a Delaware County business, church, organization, or individual, to sponsor the program. Your sponsorship helps us to fund the Delaware County Martin Luther King Scholarship Program.

The doors will open at 11 a.m., with a buffet lunch beginning soon after. The program will begin promptly at noon and adjourn at 1 p.m.

Since 1990, we have awarded over $34,000 in scholarships to Delaware County students. This year's recipients, Emma Meier and Alayna Boyer, will be recognized at the event. If you are not able to attend, your donation to the scholarship fund, or sponsorship of any amount, will be honored and acknowledged at the celebration.

For online ticket purchases, please visit Online purchases will end on January 8, 2024. Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to seeing you on January 15, 2024.