January 2, 2024
Freedom Center offering free admission on MLK Day
Free programming includes performances by acclaimed composer, story times, blood drive and more
CINCINNATI – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is offering free admission for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 15. A performance by award-winning composer Adrian Dunn and the Adrian Dunn Singers will highlight the day’s programming, which will also include story times, self-guided activities and a community blood drive. The day of free admission is made possible through the support of the Fifth Third Foundation as part of the Freedom Center’s Fifth Third Community Days. The Freedom Center will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on MLK Day.
“As we reflect upon Dr. King’s legacy and celebrate his life, we’re honored to do so with our community. Together, we connect across generations, across politics, across to remind ourselves where we have come from, what we have accomplished and how far we still have to go in this march toward justice and equity,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
The highlight of the Freedom Center’s MLK Day activities is a one-hour performance by Adrian Dunn and Chicago’s only all-Black professional choral ensemble, The Adrian Dunn Singers. Dunn is an acclaimed singer, composer and conductor who most recently was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Live Sound for his PBS special performance of Emancipation at Harris Theater, which is currently streaming in rotation on PBS. Emancipation was composed by Dunn and performed by the Adrian Dunn Singers and the Rize Orchestra, fusing classical, gospel, hip hop and spirituals to explore the question: what does it mean to be Black and free in America in the 21st century? Dunn has also won The American Prize in Composition for Requiem from The Mass for the Unarmed Child (2022) and was named among the Top 10 Classical Music & Jazz Performances of 2021 by the Chicago Tribune. He made his composer and conducting debut with The Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra in June 2021. Dunn and The Adrian Dunn Singers performed the film score for the 2022 major motion picture Honk for Jesus, starring Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall.
Guests can also take advantage of self-guided family activities developed by the Freedom Center and story times at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., perfect for young visitors.
Hoxworth Blood Center is hosting their MLK Day blood drive from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Freedom Center, in partnership with the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Walkups will be accepted but donors are encouraged to register at hoxworth.org/mlk.
As marchers prepare for the annual Freedom March, organized by the MLK Coalition, the Freedom Center will be offering a warming station, courtesy of The Kroger Co.
MLK Day tickets are free but registration is recommended. Reserve your free tickets at freedomcenter.org.
Tickets still available for King Legacy Celebration
The Freedom Center’s annual celebration of the life and leadership of Dr. King will take place prior to the museum’s public opening on January 15. This year’s theme of Advocacy & Action will feature a keynote by Dr. Adren Wilson, vice president of Youth Opportunity Programs for the Obama Foundation and executive director of its My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. Dr. Wilson brings his message of youth-driven, community-up change to the morning’s program. The King Legacy Celebration will also feature performances by Adrian Dunn and The Adrian Dunn Singers, as well as remarks from the Freedom Center’s teen docents and a continental breakfast. Tickets are $40 for Freedom Center Members and $50 for non-Members. Doors open at 8 a.m. and the program begins at 8:30 a.m. Purchase tickets at freedomcenter.org/klc24.
MLK Day Schedule
King Legacy Celebration (ticket required)
- 8 a.m. Doors open
- 8:30 a.m. Program begins
Museum Hours and Programming
- 11 a.m. Museum opens
- 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hoxworth Blood Drive
- 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Community information tables and self-guided activities
- 11:30 a.m. Story time
- 1:30 p.m. Story time
- 2 p.m. Adrian Dunn and The Adrian Dunn Singers perform
- 3:30 p.m. Story time
- 5 p.m. Museum closes
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 freedomcenter.org, 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, endslaverynow.org.