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Charlotte MLK Jr. Celebration Activities Announced
Thursday, January 13, 2011

Contact: Kelly Setzer
704-336-4287 or

The City of Charlotte MLK Planning Committee is excited to announce the 2011 City of Charlotte MLK holiday weekend activities, sponsored by Food Lion,, V101.9, Power 98 FM, WJZY The CW-46, Praise 100.9 and My92.7.

On Dr. King’s actual birthday, January 15, a brief but symbolic wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the MLK statue in Marshall Park at 10 a.m., kicking off the annual celebration. At 11 a.m., the City of Charlotte will host the MLK Holiday Parade which starts at 9th and North Tryon streets and ends at Martin Luther King Boulevard and South Tryon Street. Crowds of 3,000 or more are expected to come out and enjoy the floats, performers and VIP guests.
The McCrorey Family YMCA will host the annual MLK Prayer Breakfast at The Westin on January 17 at 7 a.m., followed by the MLK National Day of Celebration at Halton Theater at 11 a.m. on the uptown campus of Central Piedmont Community College. This free event will feature scholarship presentations to the winners of the CMS MLK Art and Writing contest winners and the presentation of the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Medallion Award. Susan Burgess has been named the recipient of the 2011 MLK Medallion Award posthumously. This year’s MLK National Holiday Celebration keynote speaker will be former astronaut Joan Higginbotham, the third African American female to fly in space to the International Space Station.

For more information please contact Terry Bradley directly at 704-336-5271 or by email at


About the MLK Planning Committee:
The MLK Planning Committee, formed in 2007, is comprised of volunteers from throughout the community. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee and Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation have been involved with the committee’s initiatives for over 28 years. The group is chaired by Cherise Belnavis Johnson and co-chaired by Sam Belnavis.

About MLK National Holiday Celebration Keynote Speaker Joan Higginbotham:
Joan Higginbotham is the third African-American female to fly in space to the International Space Station. She actively participated in 53 space shuttle launches during her 9-year tenure at Kennedy Space Center and logged over 308 hours in space having completed her first mission with the crew of STS-116. After an illustrious 20 year career with NASA, Higginbotham now works at Marathon Oil Company.

About MLK Medallion Award Recipient Susan Burgess:
In addition to three decades of public service on Charlotte City Council and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, her community service activities included: Girl Scouts – Hornets Nest Council, Drug Education Center, League of Women Voters, Women’s Political Caucus, Sister for Sister and the American Heart Association’s Charlotte Goes Red for Women. She was the founder of Smoke Free Charlotte. She received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest citizens’ award and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Keeper of the Dream Award.” She passed away in June of 2010 after a brave battle with cancer.