Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission

The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission (Commission) was established in 1985 by Executive Order. Today the Equal Opportunity Division provides administrative support to the commission.

The Commission is a statewide advocate of Dr. King's principles of nonviolence and annually honors Ohio's citizens who work to promote diversity and eliminate discrimination through nonviolent methods. Each year, the Commission presents awards to Ohioans to celebrate the life of Dr. King, whose teachings encourage nonviolent actions to secure equal rights for all Americans. The commemorative celebration is held each January in downtown Columbus. 

The Commission strives to carry our Dr. King's dream of service to others throughout the entire year through various events. To learn more about the Commission as well as how you can become involved, please click below. 

Annual Awards and Commemorative Celebration

Nominate today!

34th Annual MLK Awards

Awards will be presented to Ohio individuals and organizations who carry on the legacy Dr. King's dream and advance his philosophy of nonviolent social change at the 2019 Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration on Jan. 17, 2019 at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Columbus.
The commission, which sponsors the annual celebration as well as the Statewide MLK Oratorical contest held in April, is seeking nominations of deserving individuals and organizations from across Ohio to receive awards for carrying on Dr. King’s legacy. 

Nomination deadline is Sept. 30, 2018. Don't delay, nominate that deserving person or group from your community today!

Click the image above to learn more and submit a nomination form.

Annual King Calendar

2018 Dr. King Calendars -
Available online!

The 2018 MLK Calendar is free and available to the public on a "first come, first serve" basis. Click here for a list of regional distribution centers.

Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest

Statewide Oratorical Contest 2018

Winners announced!

For 2018, the MLK Commission selected the theme "MLK50: Legacy of Love in Pursuit of Justice." The commission chose this theme to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's untimely passing, summarizing the impact of his life’s work in the ensuing 50 years. Click here to learn more about the competition for students in grades K-12 and for contact information of a regional coordinator near you. 

MLK Commission Community Calendar of Events

MLK Community Calendar

This Community Calendar is to highlight events across Ohio commemorative Dr. King.  If your community has a diversity event or an event celebrating Dr. King that you would like included, please send an email to the MLK Commission at

MLK Commission Meetings

MLK Commission Members

50-Year Legacy: An MLK Memorial Event

To memorialize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his tragic death, the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission invites the public to attend “50-Year Legacy: an MLK Memorial Event” at noon, Wednesday, April 4 in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium, downtown Columbus. Speakers will include the Rev. Joel L. King, Jr., a first cousin to Dr. King who is a Gahanna resident, and David Jehnsen, who lead a Chicago delegation to the 1963 March on Washington. Jehnsen, a Galena resident, is chair and founding trustee of the Institute for Human Rights and Responsibilities. The Columbus State Community College Gospel Vocal Ensemble will perform at this free event.

50th Anniversary: Civil Rights Act of 1964

View Governor Kasich and Lt. Governor Taylor's resolution commemorating 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act.


50th Anniversary Celebration: "Let Freedom Ring"

The year 2013 marked a landmark in American history.  On Aug. 28, 1963, the March on Washington culminated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission (Ohio MLK Commission) and Governor John R. Kasich, together with the King Center in Atlanta and the 50th Anniversary Coalition, encouraged individuals and organizations throughout Ohio to pause to remember, reflect and act upon the dream that Dr. King shared with the world 50 years ago.  Organizations were invited to join in "Let Freedom Ring" bell-ringing events at 3 p.m. on Aug. 28, a half-century to the minute after Dr. King delivered his historic address.  Please see the links below for more information.

The Ohio MLK Commission hosted a bell-ringing commemorative ceremony at the West Plaza of the Statehouse in downtown Columbus on Aug. 28 at 3 p.m.  Please see below for additional information.


Ohio MLK Commission "Let Freedom Ring" photos:






For more photos from the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Bell Ringing, please visit the MLK Commission on Facebook! Like us at:

MLK Commission

Commission members include: Will Lucas, chair (Toledo); Rev. Joel L. King, Jr., vice chair (Gahanna); Napoleon A. Bell II (Columbus); Sen. Edna Brown (Toledo); McKinley Brown (Cincinnati); Robert Gordon (Gallipolis); David Jehnsen (Galena); Dorothy Lovell Jones (Lima); Elizabeth Blount McCormick (Columbus); Rev. Lorenzo Norris (Cleveland); and Eddie Sipplen (Akron).

Now you can follow the MLK Commission on Facebook! Like us at:

To contact the MLK Commission, e-mail