MLK Day 2024 Observances

View a list of upcoming events to observe the 2024 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday culminating in the 39th Annual Madison & Dane County MLK Day Observance, welcoming Terrence Roberts, one of the “Little Rock Nine.”

Friday, January 12, 2024


4:30pm – 7:00pm

UW Gordon Dining & Event Center | 770 W. Dayton St.

34th Annual MLK Free Community Dinner

Hosted By King Coalition

Share a meal with friends, old and new, in Dr. King’s spirit of beloved community.

Community members are invited to enjoy a wonderful meal with friends, old and new, in Dr. King’s spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood. There is no cost to attend. Arrive any time between 4:30 and 7:00 PM.

The menu will include baked and fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, mac and cheese, biscuits, sweet potato pie, and beverages.

UW Gordon Dining & Event Center | 770 W Dayton Street

Saturday, January 13, 2024


10:30am – 2:30pm

Madison College Goodman South Campus

MLK College Readiness Summit

Hosted By The College Station

Learn about precollege programs, the admissions process, scholarships, and more.
The MLK College Readiness and Success Summit is designed to help students and parents understand the college process. The Summit will also provide resources on precollege program opportunities, how to navigate the college admissions process, and scholarship opportunities.
High school students of color, first-generation students, and parents are encouraged to attend. Students will have chances to win college school supplies. Space is limited.
Help students and families get a jump start on college planning by sharing this opportunity.
Check out The College State on Facebook for the most up-to-date details and registration information:

6:00pm – 11:00pm

Wisconsin Masonic Center

“I Have a Dream” Scholarship Ball

Hosted By Women in Focus

Buy your tickets to help Women in Focus raise scholarship funds and help "Actualize the Dream."

Women In Focus, Inc. envisions a world in which dreams are fulfilled through a worldwide partnership where all barriers to education are erased for students of color. The Scholarship Ball raises funds for scholarships to support both high school seniors and adults returning to continue post-high school education. Women in Focus has awarded over $500,000 in scholarships to Dane County students.

The Ball will include an enjoyable evening of dinner, a program featuring Women in Focus Scholar Taylor Kilgore and dancing to live DJ Corey Whitmore! It will also include a fabulous auction. This elegant party helps Women In Focus fund college and technical school scholarships for Dane County students of color. It will be held at the historic Masonic Center.

Purchase your tickets soon. The event typically does sell out.

Sunday, January 14, 2024


7:30am – 10:00am

Edgewood High School

MLK Outstanding Young Person Breakfast

Hosted By Urban League of Greater Madison

Join us to recognize over 200 middle and high school youth who are excelling in school and community honoring the spirit of Dr. King.

4:30pm – 6:00pm

Fountain of Life Church

MLK Ecumenical Service

Hosted By King Coalition

Join us to promote the "beloved community" through spiritual inclusivity.

Join us to promote the “beloved community” through spiritual inclusivity.

Hosted by the King Coalition in partnership with a diverse group of faith community leaders, the MLK Ecumenical Service joins people together from diverse religious traditions, socioeconomic statuses, ethnicities and political beliefs in the spirit of brotherhood/ sisterhood to honor Dr. King’s dream of social justice and equality. It also seeks to develop the “beloved community” through spiritual inclusivity and recognition of our shared humanity.

This year’s service will be hosted at Fountain of Life Church. Please check back here in early January for more details about the program.

Monday, January 15, 2024


11:30am – 5:00pm

Madison Central Library

MLK Youth Call To Service

Hosted By King Coalition, Urban League of Greater Madison, and others

Engaging workshops and more activities encouraging middle and high school youth to serve in the spirit of Dr. King.

The King Coalition, in partnership with the Urban League of Greater Madison, City of Madison, Dane County, MSCR, Madison Out of School Time (MOST), Madison Public Library, and others is pleased to invite middle school youth to attend the MLK Day Youth Call to Service on Monday, Jan. 15th.

The 2024 MLK Day Youth Call to Service will be held at the Madison Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin Street, Madison. The main event will run roughly 12-5pm (doors to open around 11:30). Engaging workshops, lunch, and an event t-shirt will all be provided at no cost.

Registration is limited to youth groups serving middle school youth. Space is limited.

For more information, please contact Andrew Schilcher at [email protected]


5:00pm – 8:00pm

Overture Center Capital Theater

39th Annual City of Madison & Dane County MLK Day Observance

Hosted By King Coalition

Welcoming Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine. Presentation of MLK Humanitarian Award by Mayor & County Executive. MLK Community Choir.

Community members are invited to join us for the 39th annual City of Madison & Dane County MLK Day Observance. The event will be held at the Overture Center for the Arts in the Capital Theater. 

The program will feature the MLK Community Choir, presentation of the 2024 MLK Humanitarian Awards by Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, a Call to Action, and more.

Keynote: The highlight of the event will be a keynote speech from Terrence Roberts who made history as one of the “Little Rock Nine.” Mr. Roberts attended segregated elementary, junior, and high schools until 1957, when he volunteered to help desegregate Little Rock Central High School. His first attempt to enter the school was stopped by the Arkansas National Guard and an angry mob of 400 people. A second attempt several weeks later was met with a mob that had grown to 1,000 people. The next day, President Dwight Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and dispatched members of the 101st Airborne Division to accompany the students to school for the remainder of the year.

Dr. Roberts went on to a successful academic career that included earning a PhD. He and the other Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton. His story has been told in books and movies and he continues to tour the country urging that we learn from this ugly past and commit to working towards continued progress.

MLK Community Choir: The MLK Community Choir has been an integral part of the official Madison & Dane County King Holiday Observance for many years. The Choir is unique in bringing together community members regardless of musical background for the purpose of performing at this event. It is directed by acclaimed musicians Leotha and Tamera Stanley. No audition is required. To join the Choir community members simply need to attend two rehearsals: Tuesday, January 9 at 7:00 PM | Saturday, January 13, 11:00 AM. Both rehearsals are at Mt. Zion Baptist Church | 2019 Fisher Street

Wednesday, January 31, 2024


5:30 – 7:00pm

Shannon Hall, Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St.

MLK Symposium — An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith

Hosted By UW-Madison Student Affairs and the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement

An evening with acclaimed writer, actress, and teacher Anna Deavere Smith as she reflects on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

An evening with acclaimed writer, actress, and teacher Anna Deavere Smith as she reflects on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through the lens of her work. All are invited to a reception with light refreshments in the Shannon Sunset Lounge outside the theater following the event until 8:30 p.m.

Smith is credited with having created a new form of theater. Her plays, sometimes called “docudramas,” focus on contemporary issues from multiple points of view and are composed from excerpts of hundreds of interviews. She has worked as an actress in several television series and mainstream movies.

Among her many accomplishments, Smith has received the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal, MacArthur Fellowship, was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize, and nominated for two Tony Awards. She is currently a professor at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

Contact: Please email [email protected] with any questions or additional accommodation requests for this event.