27th Annual City/County King Holiday Speaker To Take Up New Leadership Role

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 9:22am

The Madison-Dane County Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition announced the late-breaking news that Rev. C.T. Vivian - who will be the keynote speaker for the 27th Annual City/County King Holiday Observance - was just appointed to serve as National Vice President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

The SCLC is among the most venerable of institutions in the American Civil Rights Movement. The organization was first headed by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The group's efforts on issues including voter equality and desegregation of public accommodations led to historic gains in civil rights. The SCLC's non-violent direct-action protests, civil disobedience, and mass mobilizing of boycotts and marches, was instrumental in many of the victories made during the Civil Rights Movement. The SCLC was at the forefront of Citizenship Schools, Albany Movement, Birmingham Campaign, March on Washington, St. Augustine protests, Selma Voting Rights Campaign and March to Montgomery. Rev. Vivian has announced that he wants the SCLC's attention "again focused on the nonviolent direct action, to address the lingering plagues of war, poverty and racism that King fought against at SCLC's height."

The Rev. C.T. Vivian will visit Madison to serve as keynote speaker for the 27th Annual City/County King Holiday Observance on Monday, January 16th at 6:00 p.m., at the Overture Center Capital Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

Rev. Vivian is a living legend of the Civil Rights Movement and he continues his activism today, tirelessly working for the progress of African Americans and the civil and political rights of all people. An uplifting speaker, he has addressed audiences in 42 states, 10 countries on the issues of civil rights, non-violence, racism and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with whom he worked for many years. Rev. Vivian has been featured as an activist and an analyst in the civil rights documentary, "Eyes on the Prize," and has been featured in a PBS special, "The Healing Ministry of Dr. C.T. Vivian." He has made numerous appearances on "Oprah" as well as the "Montel Williams Show" and "Donahue." Rev. Vivian is the focus of the biography, Challenge and Change by Lydia Walker and he is the author of Black Power and the American Myth, which was an Ebony Book Club Selection.

Rev. Vivian helped found the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, and helped organize the first sit-ins in Nashville in 1960 and the first civil rights march in 1961. Rev. Vivian rode the first "Freedom Bus" into Jackson, Mississippi, and went on to work alongside Martin Luther King Jr.in Birmingham, Selma, Chicago, Nashville, the March on Washington, and elsewhere throughout the country. His work on the St. Augustine campaign helped lead to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In addition to the keynote address, the event will feature the presentation of the annual City/County Dr. King Awards, to be bestowed by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.

Music will be provided by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Choir led by noted local music director Leotha Stanley. Participation in the choir is open to all interested individuals. No registration or audition is required; interested individuals need only attend the two upcoming rehearsals at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2019 Fisher Street. These will take place on Tuesday, January 10, at 7:00pm and Saturday, January 14, at 11:00 a.m.

The community is invited to join the Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition in welcoming Rev. Vivian to Madison as we honor Dr. King's enduring vision and recommit ourselves to the achievement of a Beloved Community.

The community is also invited to attend the King Coalition's 25th Annual Free Community Dinner, 4:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., on Friday, January 13th at the University of Wisconsin - Madison's Gordon Commons, Room B5, 717 W. Johnson Street. Enjoy a wonderful meal with friends, old and new, in Dr. King's spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood for community and peace. Free shuttle bus service to and from the dinner will be provided by Kobussen Buses Ltd. Pickups are scheduled at the YWCA, 101 E Mifflin Street (departing at 5:45 p.m.) and Grace Episcopal Church, 116 W. Washington Ave. (at 5:55 p.m.).

Leadership sponsors of the King Coalition are Dean & St. Mary's and Housing Ministries of American Baptists. Additional financial support is provided by American Family Insurance, Alliant Energy, BMO Harris Bank, City of Madison, Concourse Hotel, CUNA Mutual Group Foundation, Dane County, Dane County Credit Union, Gramling & Associates, Capital City Hues, Madison Gas & Electric, UW-Madison Office of the Chancellor, Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin, The Baha'i Faith of Madison, Wegner CPAs.

The King Coalition was established in the fall of 1985 as a community group to plan the official City of Madison and Dane County observances of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. The Coalition brings people from all walks of life together in the spirit of true brotherhood and sisterhood to commemorate the life and accomplishments of this renowned leader of the civil rights movement. Moreover, King Coalition events encourage the people of the Dane County community to reaffirm their commitment to building a just community out of our racial, religious and economic diversity.

MLK Youth Service Day 2012: "A dedication to Service... A discovery of science," Monday, January 16, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The Urban League, the King Coalition, and many other organizations will co-sponsor this event at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, a world-class biomedical research institute on the UW-Madison campus. The event for middle and high school youth will both honor and reflect on the life of Dr. King, and learn how science and service can intersect. There is no cost to attend but registration is limited to the first 300 registrants.

In addition to King Coalition sponsored events, other activities commemorating the King Holiday include:

Saturday, January 14, I Have a Dream Scholarship Ball: Sponsored by Women In Focus, the Ball raises money to provide college scholarships to deserving students. The festive evening will be held at the Monona Terrace, beginning at 6 p.m. Visit www.womeninfocus.net for more info.

Sunday, January 15, The 28th Annual Urban League Guild Recognition Breakfast, 7:45 a.m., Edgewood High School, 2219 Monroe Street. Nearly 200 students will be recognized for their outstanding academic accomplishments and community services. High school seniors will be awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. College Scholarships. The Madison Metropolitan School District will announce the 2012 Mann Scholars. Tickets are $8 advanced, $12 at the door. For tickets and info visit www.ulgm.org or call (608) 729-1200.

Sunday, January 15, 4:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Ecumenical Church Service: Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2019 Fisher Street, Madison.

America's Sunday Supper, Sunday, January 15, 6:00 p.m.: Wisconsin Campus Compact will host their first Sunday Supper, a national program meant to bring together communities to celebrate Dr. King's inspiring message. The event will include an engaging "dinner and a movie" experience and a chance to conjoin efforts as a community to carry on Dr. King's dream today. The film to be presented will be "At the River I Stand" which documents Dr. King's last two months alive and his work with the sanitation workers' strike in Memphis, 1968. Featured Speaker will be UW-Madison Associate Professor of History, William Jones Discussion focusing on the intersection of race, class, and labor. Pre-registration is required. Contact Jaryd M. Spann, spann2@wisc.edu or (414) 807-3447.


  • Gloria Hawkins608-335-8339
  • Edward Lee608-213-7907