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City Of Bloomington Invites Public To Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Updated December 14, 2017 6:24 AM | Filed under: Event
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(BLOOMINGTON) - Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton invites the community to attend the 2018 City of Bloomington's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration, on Monday, January 15, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

The celebration begins with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by a program at 7 p.m. The theme for this year's celebration is "The Man, The Movement, The Memorial," featuring keynote speaker Reverend Harold Middlebrook. The event will include remarks by Mayor Hamilton, members of the MLK Commission, and others.

Reverend Harold Middlebrook was a friend of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. and an active member of the civil rights movement. Middlebrook received his bachelor's degree from Atlanta's Morehouse College in 1963. He was ordained as a minister in 1966 and attended LeMoyne-Owen College and Memphis Theological Seminary in the 1970s. Middlebrook first became involved with the civil rights movement during his student years at Morehouse in the early 1960s, where he met Martin Luther King, Jr., then president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Middlebrook also became a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and participated in several sit-ins in Atlanta. In 1968, as assistant pastor to Rev. Benjamin Hooks at Middle Baptist Church in Memphis, Middlebrook served on the strategy committee of the Community on the Move for Equality (COME), where he organized youth activities. Middlebrook remained politically active throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He was president of the Bolivar Human Development Corporation, an advisor to the Hardeman County Bi-Racial Commission, co-coordinator of the Hardeman County Political Action Commission, and an advisory board member to the Tennessee Public Service Commission. In 1986, he founded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Commission of Greater Knoxville, which he chaired until 2000.

Musical performers at the evening event will include the Fairview Elementary School students and the Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble, directed by Dr. Raymond Wise. Volunteers who participated in "A Day ON! Not A Day Off" will be recognized, and the winner of the Commission's Legacy Award will be announced. Light refreshments will be available at the reception. Both the formal program and reception are free. The public is encouraged to attend.

Major event underwriters include the City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department, Cook Medical, Indiana University, Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, Lola B. Debro and Family, WFHB, and WFIU. Event sponsors include Griffin Realty, Ivy Tech Community College, and the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Bloomington.

For a list of Martin Luther King Day of Service volunteer opportunities and other activities, visit or contact Michael Shermis, Special Projects Coordinator, at 812-349-3471 or

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