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Martin Luther King Day Event Preparations Underway

By Wendell Hutson | January 6, 2014 7:11am
 Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored on the day named in his honor in events throughout the city on Jan. 20.
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored on the day named in his honor in events throughout the city on Jan. 20.
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NY Daily News

GRAND CROSSING — Local organizations are preparing to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as the day dedicated to his memory fast approaches.

The Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside Ave., will celebrate King Day, Jan. 20, with its annual commemoration that includes interactive workshops, art exhibits and stage performances.

Senyah Haynes, special events coordinator for the center, said the free event, "King Today, King Beyond," begins at noon and will include a showing of archival footage of King and a musical performance by the Chicago Community Chorus.

“This event will take place in our 600-seat auditorium and all are welcome,” Haynes said. Each year the Gary Comer Youth Center celebrates King Day by hosting a day full of activities.”

Another annual King event on Jan. 20 is the 24th annual PUSH/Excel MLK Scholarship Breakfast that runs from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive. Individual tickets are $125 and can be bought online. Proceeds will go toward college scholarships for inner-city youths.

Michael Perry, a spokesman for the nonprofit organization founded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said it's working to line up civil rights activist Andrew Young as the keynote speaker.

“We have not confirmed if Mr. Young will be available but should know soon,” Perry said. “Rev. Jackson worked closely with Dr. King and continues his efforts to make human equality a basic right for all.”

Jackson was an aide to King and was with him on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis when he was assassinated.

Tarrah Cooper, a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said he is planning an invitation-only breakfast Jan. 17 at the Chicago Hilton Hotel, 720 S. Michigan Ave.

Across the country, there are 730 streets named after King, including one in Chicago.

Beginning just south of East Cermak Road and four blocks east of South Michigan Avenue, King Drive stretches to 115th Street. The street runs through predominantly black South Side neighborhoods from Bronzeville to Roseland, spanning 14 miles.

Originally named Grand Boulevard, then South Park Way, it finally was renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in 1968.

In 2013 the Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Memorial Bridge was unveiled at 99th Street and King Drive in Roseland. It spans Interstate 57 near a Secretary of State Driver Services Facility.