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Yolanda King to speak at MLK Celebration

COLUMBUS – Yolanda King, the first-born daughter of civil rights legend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is the keynote speaker for the 2007 King Celebration at 7 p.m. Thursday (1/11) in Hitchcock Hall Auditorium, 2070 Neil Ave.

The Ohio State University's 35th anniversary celebrating the life and legacy of the senior King will also feature the African American Voices Gospel Choir. The event is free and open to the public, and kicks off of a week of activities leading up to the national observance on Monday (Jan. 15).

“We wanted to have someone special for this specific anniversary,” said Larry Williamson, director of the Frank Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center. &ldqus;While the event has featured many outstanding speakers over the years, bringing Yolanda King to Ohio State will be especially meaningful because of her memories of her father.”

An international speaker, author and actress, Yolanda King is the founder and CEO of Higher Ground Productions, which produces multimedia projects to help enrich diversity and social unity. She is co-editor of a new book, “Open My Eyes, Open My Soul: Celebrating Our Common Humanity.”

King received a bachelor's degree in theater and African American studies from Smith College, and a master's degree in theater from New York University. She has also served as a visiting professor of theater at Fordham University.

Other events throughout the week include:

• Student Leadership Council visits civil rights sites – Jan. 11-15. To gain appreciation for the historic and current struggles of civil liberties and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., students involved in the John Glenn Civic Leadership Council will travel to Birmingham, Ala., and Atlanta, Ga. They will visit historic civil rights sites, attend a freedom rally and a tribute to Coretta Scott King, and assist at a downtown men's shelter.

• Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service – Jan. 15. The MLK Day of Service is held annually and brings together hundreds of Ohio State students and community members for a morning of service in honor of King. Volunteers will check in for their assignments at 9 a.m. at Hitchcock Hall, 2070 Neil Ave.

• Ohio State Student March for Freedom – Jan. 15. Students will gather at 2 p.m. at the Hale Black Cultural Center, 153 W. 12th Ave., and march from the Ohio State campus to Columbus City Hall where they will join in the citywide processional.

• Ohio State student play to debut at Columbus celebration – Jan. 15. “Four Women Who Embraced the Legacy,&rdquo: written by three Ohio State students, will premier at Columbus' citywide celebration at 6 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Hall, 300 W. Broad St. The play focuses on four women who were active in the civil rights movement: Myrlie Evers, Kasturba Gandhi, Helena Chavez, and Coretta Scott King. The production was written by Christian Hall, David Maynard and Laura Heintz who are minoring in professional writing.