Brittany Packnett Cunningham to keynote Freedom Center’s 2023 King Legacy Celebration

Press Release

Brittany Packnett Cunningham to keynote Freedom Center's 2023 King Legacy Celebration

Acclaimed writer and activist headlines Jan. 16 event

CINCINNATI, OH (November 2, 2022) — The National Underground Railroad is welcoming a leading voice in the ongoing struggle for social justice to headline its annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The King Legacy Celebration will host activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham as its keynote speaker on the morning of MLK Day, January 16, 2023. Tickets for the in-person program and a livestream option are available now.

Brittany Packnett Cunningham is an award-winning educator, organizer, writer and leader who is leading at the intersection of culture and justice. Former President Barack Obama called her a leader whose “voice is going to be making a difference for years to come.” She is a former elementary school teacher, education executive and policy advisor who has held top roles at Teach for America, been a Congressional policy advisor and a three-time fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. Cunningham served on President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force and the Ferguson Commission, helping lead the country and her community through change during times of turmoil.

Cunningham is also an NBC News and MSNBC contributor and host of UNDISTRACTED, an intersectional news and social justice podcast, and former co-host of the award-winning podcast Pod Save the People. She is the founder and principal of Love & Power Works, a full-service social impact and equity agency. Her TED Talk on confidence has garnered more than five million views worldwide, making it one of the ten most popular TED Talks of 2019. She has graced the covers of British Vogue and Essence Magazine, been listed as one of Time’s 12 New Faces of Black Leadership and has been honored by BET, Politico Magazine, Marie Claire, the Trayvon Martin Foundation, Higher Heights and more.

“Ms. Cunningham is a powerful voice in this ongoing struggle for social justice that is seeing the baton passed from the generations marching for Civil Rights in 1950s and 60s and advocating for community reform in the 1990s and 2000s,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “She is calling a new generation to lead and to do so with love and strength. We’re honored to have her join us for our annual celebration of Dr. King’s legacy as new freedom fighters carry forward the lantern to illuminate the path to justice.”

The King Legacy Celebration will include a continental breakfast and an opportunity for fellowship before the program begins. Artist Destiny L will perform “Lift Every Voice” to start the program and Revolution Dance Theatre will perform prior to the keynote. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Nouveau program will perform in reflection to Dr. King’s philosophy and students from the Freedom Center’s Youth Docent Program will speak about Dr. King’s six principles. Doors open at 8 a.m. with performances and the keynote presentation at 8:30 a.m.

Tickets for the King Legacy Celebration are $50 for the in-person program or $25 for the livestream program. Discounted tickets are available for Freedom Center Members at $40 for the in-person program and $20 for the livestream programs. Tickets are available at

The Freedom Center is developing a full day of programming following the King Legacy Celebration to honor the memory of Dr. King and to call a new generation to action.


About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center 
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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