ashland.news
February 21, 2024

Following the dream: Events commemorating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy return in full force

D.L. Richardson speaks at the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance at the Historic Ashland Armory.
January 11, 2024

Event Monday to culminate with a walk from Historic Armory to Ashland Plaza to listen to Dr. King’s 1963 Freedom March speech

By Holly Dillemuth, Ashland.news

After three years of hosting a scaled-back commemoration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s  life and work due to COVID-19, the full-fledged celebration returns to the Historic Ashland Armory on Monday, Jan. 15, with plans for those gathered to walk from the armory to the Plaza to hear the “I Have A Dream” speech.

Doors open for the 36th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at 11:30 a.m. with the program running from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Historic Ashland Armory at 208 Oak St. The event is free, open to the public and is family-friendly.

Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis.  

The celebration and online simulcast are sign-language interpreted.  

This year’s keynote speech will be delivered by historian, educator, and longtime emcee D.L. Richardson. Richardson is also a board member for Black Southern Oregon Alliance.

The celebration’s theme is “We Choose Love! Now more than ever, the DREAM must continue.” 

Richardson said the theme covers a broad range of issues in the world, including everything from wars in the world to hate faced by students locally and nationally.

“We just wanted to speak out against that and finally say, we’re not going to be pulled down into the hate that the world is trying to pull us down to,” Richardson said. 

“We’ll follow Dr. King and we will choose love as he did, as he spoke of,” he added.

“We’re going to follow his teachings and follow the dream … and try to be a better society, a better community.”

The celebration will include messages from faith leaders in the valley, and performances by the Ashland School District Middle School Choir, the Rogue Valley Peace Choir, BASE Youth Dancers, spoken word from area students, and 

The Friends of Bishop Mayfield Band who will perform a tribute to the beloved local blues legend. 

There will also be a slideshow presentation on the need for the Civil Rights Movement, 60 years after passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The deets
What: Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration
When: Noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15.  Doors  open at 11:30 a.m.
Where: Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St., Ashland
The program will also be live-streamed at SOMLK.org.
Admission: FREE, but donations are welcome. Attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the SOU Food Pantry.

“We want to make sure that we identify why that’s so important,” Richardson said. 

At the very end, the Black Student Union from SOU will lead the march from the armory to the Plaza to listen to King’s famous speech delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, Richardson said.

The Kirby Shaw Singers will perform at the Plaza soon afterward.

During the event’s hiatus from being held at the Historic Ashland Armory, Ashland City Councilor Gina DuQuenne organized gatherings on the Plaza, Richardson said.

Richardson said having the full event back in place will be very special for the community.

While the event is free, donations are welcome and everyone is encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the SOU Food Pantry, according to a news release.  Sponsors and participating organizations, in addition to SOU, include the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, Travel Ashland, the city of Ashland, Ashland School District, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland Food Co-Op, Black Southern Oregon Alliance and Black Alliance for Social Empowerment.

Southern Oregon University will join several other local organizations in sponsoring this year’s event. 

The show will also be live-streamed at SOMLK.org.

Walker Elementary students will also participate in a separate march at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 12, from the school to SOU’s Stevenson Union, where they will gather for a special program for students emceed by Richardson in the Rogue River Room.

“I’ve been doing that with them for so many years,” Richardson said. “It’s one of my favorite things all year to have an opportunity to see all these kids and the joy that they have in learning about the day.”

Note: D.L. Richardson is a board member of Ashland.news.

Reach Ashland.news staff reporter Holly Dillemuth at hollyd@ashland.news.

Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

Related Posts...

Ashland School Board taps current Rainier superintendent for top district job

Ashland School Board has selected Dr. Joseph Hatttrick, the current superintendent of Rainier School District in the city of Rainier, Oregon, about an hour northwest of Portland, as its next superintendent. During a special online-only session, school board members voted 5-0 Tuesday evening to select Hattrick as new superintendent of Ashland schools, a position he will fill officially on July 1.

Read More »

Oregon permanent standard time bill survives after Senate splits

An effort to switch Oregon to permanent standard time will live to see another day after hitting a temporary roadblock on Tuesday when the state Senate split evenly on the bill. Supporters agreed to amend the bill to add a trigger clause clarifying that Oregon would only ditch daylight saving time if and when Washington and California do the same. 

Read More »

Latest posts

Ashland School Board taps current Rainier superintendent for top district job

Ashland School Board has selected Dr. Joseph Hatttrick, the current superintendent of Rainier School District in the city of Rainier, Oregon, about an hour northwest of Portland, as its next superintendent. During a special online-only session, school board members voted 5-0 Tuesday evening to select Hattrick as new superintendent of Ashland schools, a position he will fill officially on July 1.

Read More >

Oregon permanent standard time bill survives after Senate splits

An effort to switch Oregon to permanent standard time will live to see another day after hitting a temporary roadblock on Tuesday when the state Senate split evenly on the bill. Supporters agreed to amend the bill to add a trigger clause clarifying that Oregon would only ditch daylight saving time if and when Washington and California do the same. 

Read More >

Ashland Creatives: When family history is American history

Ashland Creatives: It was 10 years after her father’s death, when she was 33 years old, that Barbara Hilyer first learned the family secret that she had African American heritage. She wrote a book about it, which she’ll discuss Monday, March 4, at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland.

Read More >

Explore More...

Ashland School Board taps current Rainier superintendent for top district job

Ashland School Board has selected Dr. Joseph Hatttrick, the current superintendent of Rainier School District in the city of Rainier, Oregon, about an hour northwest of Portland, as its next superintendent. During a special online-only session, school board members voted 5-0 Tuesday evening to select Hattrick as new superintendent of Ashland schools, a position he will fill officially on July 1.

Read More>

Oregon permanent standard time bill survives after Senate splits

An effort to switch Oregon to permanent standard time will live to see another day after hitting a temporary roadblock on Tuesday when the state Senate split evenly on the bill. Supporters agreed to amend the bill to add a trigger clause clarifying that Oregon would only ditch daylight saving time if and when Washington and California do the same. 

Read More>

Ashland Creatives: When family history is American history

Ashland Creatives: It was 10 years after her father’s death, when she was 33 years old, that Barbara Hilyer first learned the family secret that she had African American heritage. She wrote a book about it, which she’ll discuss Monday, March 4, at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland.

Read More>
ashland.news logo

Subscribe to the newsletter and get local news sent directly to your inbox.

(It’s free)

Don't Miss Our Top Stories

Get our newsletter delivered to your inbox three times a week.
It’s FREE and you can cancel anytime.