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Ashland celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.

The 20th annual Ashland Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday celebration will be held at noon Monday, Jan. 21, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St., Ashland. The event is free.

It is sponsored by the Ashland School District, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the city of Ashland, Jefferson Public Radio and Southern Oregon University.

The theme for this year's celebration is commitment, and organizers hope to foster a community wide recommitment to the ideals of civil rights, inclusion and social justice through nonviolence, compassion and courage.

Bill Rauch, artistic director of OSF, will give the keynote speech. SOU Instructor D.L. Richardson will be the master of ceremonies. Students from the Ashland School District and SOU, along with OSF actors and various other groups will present songs, dances and dramatic performances. Multimedia excerpts from King's speeches and video archives also will be presented.

King was the pastor for the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomer, Ala. A tireless champion for the civil rights of everyone, King practiced his philosophy of nonviolent resistance, which led to his arrest on occasions in the 1950s and '60s.

In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On April 4, 1968, he was shot and killed.

Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. Donations of non-perishable food items are encouraged.