The Madison/Dane County King Coalition has announced that the 31st Annual City of Madison & Dane County observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday will feature Ernest Green, one of nine students known as the “Little Rock Nine” to first integrate Central High School following the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

The City-County Observance will take place on Monday, January 18, 2016, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Overture Center for the Arts in downtown Madison. This year’s observance continues the popular tradition of kicking-off with a “Freedom Songs Sing-in” from 5-5:30 p.m. in the Rotunda of the Overture Center. The City-County Observance will then take place beginning at 6 p.m. in the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater. The Observance will also feature presentation of the Madison-Dane County Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. Annette Miller, Emerging Markets and Community Development Director with Madison Gas & Electric will serve as emcee.

The MLK Community Choir, led by one of Madison’s most noted music directors – Leotha Stanley, will perform at the City-County Observance. Participation in the choir is open to all interested individuals. No registration or audition is required; interested individuals need only attend the two upcoming rehearsals. Rehearsals will be on Tuesday, January 12, 7 p.m. and Saturday, January 16, at 11 a.m. at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2019 Fisher St.

The City-County Observance will serve as the capstone to a series of events commemorating the King Holiday. Other King Coalition hosted events include:

◆ FRIDAY, JANUARY 15th – FREE COMMUNITY DINNER: The community is also invited to attend the King Coalition’s 29th Annual Free Community Dinner, 4:30-7 p.m., on Friday, January 15th at the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Gordon Dining and Event Center, 770 W. Dayton St., on the 2nd Floor. More than 500 community members are expected to enjoy a wonderful meal with friends, old and new, in Dr. King’s spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood. Free shuttle bus service to and from the dinner will be available. Route and time will be posted online in January at

◆ SUNDAY, JANUARY 17th – ECUMENICAL SERVICE: An Ecumenical Worship Service will be held at 4:30 PM at S.S. Morris Community A.M.E Church, 3511 Milwaukee St, Madison, WI 53714. Clergy from several different faiths will participate in this nondenominational service.

◆ MONDAY, JANUARY 18th – YOUTH DAY OF SERVICE 2016: Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?” Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. The MLK Youth Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.

In Madison, 350 middle and high school students are expected at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery where they will learn how science and service can intersect. The event is open to any Dane County middle or high school students and there is no cost to participate. However, registration is limited. Register online: