Local and area organizations will commemorate the birthday of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a three-day celebration beginning Jan. 19.
Meanwhile, all Kansas University and Haskell Indian Junior College classes will be canceled Jan. 21, the national holiday recognizing the birth of the black activist.
U.S. post offices won't be open either. However, Douglas County and city of Lawrence offices will remain open, and the Lawrence public school system will conduct classes.
King, a crusader against racism, dedicated his adult life to the quest of securing equal rights for black Americans. He was assassinated in April 1968.
THE REV. Wallace Hartsfield, Kansas City, Mo., will begin the local celebration by exploring the theme "Let Freedom Ring Now" in the keynote address at a Jan. 19 banquet at KU. Hartsfield, active in community development programs, is pastor of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church and president of the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Operation PUSH.
This portion of the King birthday observance begins with the banquet at 6:30 p.m. in the Kansas Union Ballroom. Hartsfield's lecture is scheduled to follow at 8 p.m.
Tickets for the banquet and lecture are available through the KU Student Union Activities office, the university's Office of Minority Affairs or Cross Reference Bookstore, Lawrence. Students will be admitted free to the lecture.
The celebration continues Jan. 20 with gospel music at St. Luke A.M.E. Church, 900 N.Y. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. and features local and state groups. Admission is free.
The Rev. Frederick Sampson, pastor of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, will speak at noon Jan. 21 at a commemoration service at Missionary Baptist Church, 847 Ohio.
SAMPSON wrote "The Romance of Theology in the Black Experience" and has been active in promoting outreach programs on drug abuse, probation and missions in Detroit. Admission is free.
The area's observance is sponsored by Ecumenical Fellowship, KU Student Senate, city of Lawrence, Douglas County, and the KU offices of minority affairs and the executive vice chancellor.
For more information contact the Rev. William Dulin at 843-8913, the Rev. Leo Barbee at 749-0835 or the Rev. Charles Kennybrew at 841-3148. The three work with Ecumenical Fellowship.