2019 Atrium Health MLK National Holiday Celebration begins Tuesday

Britt Clampitt

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 14, 2019) - The Southeast's largest celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) begins in Charlotte Tuesday, Jan. 15, with four days of free, family-friendly events designed to promote inclusiveness in our community.

"The MLK weekend is an opportunity to celebrate the growing diversity of our city and county," said Delores Reid-Smith, chairwoman of the organizing committee for the 2019 Atrium Health MLK National Holiday Celebration. "We will also spotlight the grassroots leaders who continue Dr. King's legacy by working to address issues of equity and economic mobility in our community."

A full schedule of events is available online at mlk.charlottenc.gov.

MLK Memorial Service 

The celebrations kick off at noon on Tuesday with a brief service and wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Uptown's Marshall Park. 

39th Annual MLK Holiday Parade

On Saturday, Jan. 19, at 10 a.m., more than 90 marching bands, step teams and other organizations will travel along Tryon Street in the 39th annual MLK holiday parade through uptown Charlotte, beginning at Ninth Street and ending at Stonewall Street. 

MLK Call to Service

The 2019 Atrium Health MLK National Holiday Celebration also includes the United Way of Central Carolinas' MLK Call to Service, a drop-in community service event beginning at noon on Saturday at four locations: 

  • East Mecklenburg High School, 6800 Monroe Road in Charlotte.
  • Marie G. Davis K-8 School, 3351 W. Griffith St. in Charlotte.
  • Renaissance West Steam Academy, 3241 New Renaissance Way in Charlotte.
  • Blythe Elementary School, 12202 Hambright Road in Huntersville.

The MLK Call to Service benefits several Charlotte-Mecklenburg nonprofits.

Learn more at uwcentralcarolinas.org/mlk

MLK Growing the Dream Award Ceremony

The Growing the Dream Award Ceremony is a luncheon held to recognize unsung heroes and community members who work to foster unity and promote diversity and multiculturalism in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The event will be held Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Biddle Hall at Johnson C. Smith University and is free to attend, but space is limited.

The MLK Please Educate All Children Equally (P.E.A.C.E) Basketball Showcase presented by Back to the Basics Academy

Eight high school teams from across North Carolina and South Carolina will compete in an invitational competition beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Second Ward Gymnasium, 710 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Charlotte. 

  • 2 p.m.: West Charlotte High School girls vs. Rock Hill High School girls.
  • 4 p.m.: Harding University High School boys vs. Charlotte Elite boys.
  • 5 p.m.: Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy boys vs. Comenius School for Creative Leadership boys.
  • 7 p.m.: Rocky River High School boys vs. West Mecklenburg High School boys.

Tickets can be purchased at the door. Admission is $10. Children 5 years old and younger are free.

National Observance, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Arts and Writing Contest Awards and the 2019 Medallion Award

Charlotte's annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King will culminate in the national observance, including the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Arts and Writing Contest Awards and the presentation of the 2019 Medallion Award. This program will be held on Monday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m., in the Halton Theater at Central Piedmont Community College.

Students from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will honor the legacy of Dr. King's advocacy of nonviolent protests through poetry, dance and works of art. The contest allows students to connect Dr. King's legacy with current events. 

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Medallion Award is presented each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day during the National Day of Celebration. It is given to individuals in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community who exemplify the ideals of Dr. King.

About the Charlotte-Mecklenburg MLK National Holiday Celebration 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in celebrating and promoting the worth of every human being. In his pursuit of equal rights by nonviolent means, King encouraged diverse cultures to live together in a spirt of love, understanding and service to one another. In that same spirit, the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, through the Community Relations Committee, came together to expand our community's observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg MLK National Holiday Celebration. Through these events, we celebrate those who are committed to carrying Dr. King's legacy forward from generation to generation. 

Organizing partners of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg MLK National Holiday Celebration include Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, Johnson C. Smith University, United Way of Central Carolinas and members of the faith community. Events are sponsored by Atrium Health. Additional support has been provided by Food Lion.


The City of Charlotte provides services to more than 860,000 residents. The City's focus areas are Housing and Neighborhood Development, Community Safety, Transportation, Economic Development and the Environment. For the latest news about city government, visit the Citywide Newsroom. From our website, you can sign up to receive email updates on City topics that interest you through the Notify Me service.