'Embracing Change'

Delaware's 2024 MLK Celebration to Feature Jan. 15 Noontime Event at Ohio Wesleyan

By Ohio Wesleyan University

DELAWARE, Ohio – 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."

Hasan Jeffries

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.

Tracy Townsend

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.

Individual tickets are $25 for Delaware's 2024 MLK celebration, with event sponsorship available for $240 for a table of eight. 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 a buffet lunch, a performance by the Columbus Adventist Academy Children's Choir, directed by Tamaria Kulameka, and a spoken word presentation from Ohio Wesleyan senior Tymir Hill of Philadelphia.

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, Emma Meier and Alayna Boyer, will be recognized at the event. Learn more about the 2024 "Embracing Change" celebration at owu.edu/MLK.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation's premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature experience, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to understand issues from multiple academic perspectives, volunteer in service to others, build a diverse and global perspective, and translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience through internships, research, and other hands-on learning. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives" and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review "Best Colleges" lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.