35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Ceremony: Honoring 150 Unsung Heroes and Change Makers in Cleveland

Cleveland Public Library is honoring the heroes among us; teachers, community advocates, entrepreneurs, students, and volunteers. People who selflessly contribute to their neighborhoods every day and often go unnoticed or without praise.

On Monday, January 20, 2020, Cleveland Public Library is recognizing 150 Unsung Heroes in our community at the 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Ceremony at 1:00 p.m. at John Hay Campus High School Auditorium located at 2075 Stokes Boulevard near University Circle. The theme is Let Freedom Ring.

During the ceremony, architect and entrepreneur Robert Madison will receive the 2020 Cleveland Public Library Drum Major for Change Award. The prestigious honor is given to an individual who fights for equality and the greater good of their community. Madison is the first African American architect in Ohio. During his six-decade career, Madison designed buildings in Northeast Ohio and across the world. His work includes the Louis Stokes Wing of Cleveland Public Library, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, and an office building in Glenville for black doctors who weren’t allowed to practice in area hospitals in the 1960s. Despite challenges and discrimination, Madison has continued to pave the way for future architects and encouraged people of all races and ethnicities to work together to design and create beautiful buildings for all.

“Robert Madison truly embodies what Dr. King meant to be a drum major for change. Mr. Madison is a trailblazer for diversity and inclusion in the architecture and design industry and is an inspiration to many in Northeast Ohio and around the globe,” said Dr. Sadie Winlock, Chief Equity, Education, and Engagement Officer at Cleveland Public Library.

MetroHealth System President and CEO Dr. Akram Boutros is the keynote speaker. Other program highlights include performances by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District All City Choir, Imani Temple Ministries Choir, and a reenactment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1968 speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” by Dyrell Barnett of the Karamu House. Dr. King’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., will deliver remarks. Voter registration and Census information booths will be available. A reception will follow the ceremony.

“Everyone is invited to commemorate a Civil Rights icon, a pioneer in architecture, and 150 everyday Clevelanders who go above and beyond for their neighbors. This event is the capstone to Cleveland Public Library’s 150th Anniversary and sets the stage for our upcoming programs and discussions in the new year surrounding democracy, the Census, and voter registration,” said Felton Thomas, Jr., Executive Director and CEO of Cleveland Public Library.

“If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.” – excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King 1968 speech “The Drum Major Instinct”

For more information about the 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Ceremony and the Unsung Heroes, visit https://150.cpl.org/cleveland-public-library-mlk-2020/.