Daughter of civil rights icon to keynote local MLK Day observance

Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of Rev. Ralph Abernathy and goddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will be keynote speaker at the 38th annual City-County observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. The observance, which will take place on Monday, Jan. 16, in the Capitol Theater at the Overture Center for the Arts, will also feature American Family Insurance President Telisa Yancy, who will emcee the event.

Abernathy and her siblings witnessed and participated in all the historic civil rights marches. Along with the King children, her family integrated Spring Street Elementary School, which led to mass integration of schools in the south in 1965. In 2004, Abernathy authored Partners to History, Martin Luther King, Ralph David Abernathy, and the Civil Rights Movement, and she was a contributing author to the Smithsonian Institute’s book In the Spirit of Martin. Her play titled Birmingham Sunday won the Tanne Foundation Award.

The MLK observance will include a freedom song sing-in from 5:15–5:45 p.m. followed by the program from 6–7:30 p.m. Also featured will be the presentation of the Madison-Dane County Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Awards by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. Musicians Leotha and Tamera Stanley will lead the MLK Community Choir.

The event will also be broadcast live on WORT FM. More information will be posted at http://mlkingcoalition.org.