Mohawk Valley Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday in the United States marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year. Born in 1929, King’s actual birthday is January 15 (which in 1929 fell on a Tuesday).

Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that New York State’s annual commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be presented as a statewide broadcast event, “New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” airing on PBS stations throughout New York beginning MLK weekend and streaming at  empirestateplaza.ny.gov/nyking.

Martin Luther King, Jr at Lincoln Memorial.“The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. calls us to service and social justice every day,” Governor Hochul said. “This tribute to Dr. King is a reminder of that legacy, and an opportunity to recommit our State to the collective goals of his activism.”

The one-hour tribute to Dr. King showcases people and organizations from across New York State that embody the principles of one of America’s most significant leaders for social justice, freedom and equality. Program times will vary by region, and viewers are encouraged to check their local TV listings.

NYS Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, “The 2024 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Observance is an opportunity to honor his life and legacy, and the transformative impact he had on communities across New York State. In this year’s tribute, we are proud to feature individuals and organizations, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, that best exemplify Dr. King’s teachings through their charitable programs and actions. I am proud to join Governor Hochul in inviting New Yorkers to share in this celebration by viewing this program, and hope that it inspires all of us to continuously strive for a more just and equitable society with each of our daily actions.”

WMHT President and CEO Anthony V. Hayes said, “It is a privilege to join with communities across New York State via public television to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This program helps us reflect on the ‘arc of the moral universe’ as we pay tribute to Dr. King and his enduring message of nonviolence, hope, equality and justice.”

Through the eyes of New Yorkers from Binghamton to Brooklyn, Albany to Ithaca, the program focuses on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and dreams with music, art, and inspiring stories from New Yorkers who embody the principles that shaped his legacy.

Some of the show’s highlights include:

  • A special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day message from New York State Governor Kathy Hochul
  • A feature on The Gathering for Justice, the social justice organization founded by the late Harry Belafonte
  • Commentary from SUNY Chancellor Dr. John B. King, Jr. and students from Brooklyn and Schenectady
  • A profile on the work of photographer and civil rights leader Corky Lee
  • A performance by the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers, an Ithaca group dedicated to preserving AfricanAmerican spirituals and the legacy of Dorothy Cotton, an unsung civil rights movement hero
  • A look at LevelUP, a workforce advancement initiative launched by the Brooklyn Public Library designed to help Black women advance professionally and build wealth
  • Inspirational performances from groups across the state, including SUNY Binghamton arts program students and the 2024 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ensemble

Everyone is invited to tune in to learn more about New Yorkers living their lives in the image of Dr. King. In addition to viewing options on PBS stations statewide, “New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” can be viewed at empirestateplaza.ny.gov/nyking, beginning at 10 a.m. on January 16.

Trikosko, Marion S, photographer. Martin Luther King press conference / MST. , 1964. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2003688129/.

Trikosko, Marion S, photographer. Martin Luther King press conference / MST. , 1964. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2003688129/.

As a part of the NYS Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, the public is invited to view the New York State Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Fine Arts and Essay Exhibition, which features submissions from K-12 students throughout the state inspired by Dr. King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence. A virtual gallery of the students’ work will be available from January 15 to February 29.

Also, New York State holds several service-related programs each year to fulfill Dr. King’s vision of community. These include the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Statewide Food Drive, which started on December 4, 2023, and will end on February 9, 2024, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Book Drive, held February 20 to April 19, 2023, and the 24th annual Dr. King Career Fair held on Thursday, April 4, 2024.

For NY PBS member station program updates and additional information, please visit  empirestateplaza.ny.gov/nyking.

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