Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

The Celebration

Tributes and recognition of Dr. King and the achievements of the civil rights movement have been celebrated at ASU since long before the creation of a state holiday in Arizona. A highlight of the celebration is the recognition and awards ceremony for the Arizona K-12 students who are winners of the statewide essay-poster contest. A children’s march on the West campus and other events are also held.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Offices and classrooms on all ASU campuses are closed to observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Click here to see all of the events of ASU's annual MLK Celebration.

Monday January 15, 2024

MLK March on West

The 33nd Annual MLK March on West
A tradition at Arizona State University's West campus that dates back to 1991, reaching middle school students, members of the ASU community and the public to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and to understand the history-changing 1963 March on Washington. This in-person event will include educational presentations about the history of the civil rights movement, a musical program and an inspirational rendition of the “I Have a Dream” speech by ASU faculty member Charles St. Clair. Email for more information.

Wednesday January 17, 2024 9 a.m. - noon
ASU West Campus - Kiva Courtyard

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Breakfast

For community members, students, winners of the poster-essay contest and their parents, teachers and principals. By invitation. For more information, contact Diney Ransford at (480) 965-3892.

Thursday January 18, 2024 7:00am - 9:00am
ASU Tempe Campus

MLK day of service

The ASU MLK Celebration Committee and Changemaker Central @ ASU would like to invite you to be a “Changemaker” by joining us for an important Day of Service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. On Saturday, January 20, 2024, Changemaker will provide transportation from all four campus locations to the volunteer sites (as well as provide breakfast before and lunch after). Please click on the link below to register for the event. We are looking forward to serving with you!

Saturday January 20, 2024
Service sites vary by location

Ron McCurdy’s Langston Hughes Project

This show is a music, spoken word, and multi-media production by Dr. Ron McCurdy (Music Professor at University of Southern California and member of the Grammy Foundation) and is based on Langston Hughes’ masterwork, “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz”. This epic poem serves as Hughes’ social commentary for the struggle for freedom and equality for Africans and African Americans in the 1960s.

This event is open to all community members and ASU affiliates. Food and refreshments will be served.

Thursday January 25, 2024 5-7pm
Polytechnic Student Union – Cooley Ballrooms

Other events

Building History: Continuing the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — with Magic Johnson

On June 3, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stirred an audience of 8,000 in Tempe, Arizona, encouraging people to embrace the hard work of universal kinship and empathy. Prominent local leaders, including ASU Alumni Lincoln Ragsdale, Sr. and George Brooks, Sr., had invited him to deliver his message of hope. ASU President Homer Durham welcomed the opportunity to provide a venue large enough to hold the eager crowd, despite pressure to deny the request. On that day, King urged Congress to pass a far-reaching bill, the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 which cleared a path for the vibrant, diverse communities we enjoy today. Sixty years later, we continue to build on that legacy.

We are excited to celebrate this anniversary date through a series of special events.

Monday June 3, 2024 4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (MST)
Student Pavilion 400 E Orange Street Tempe AZ 85287

A. Wade Smith and Elsie Moore Memorial Lecture on Race Relations featuring Jemele Hill

Emmy Award-winning journalist Jemele Hill will be the featured speaker at the 2024 A. Wade Smith and Elsie Moore Memorial Lecture on Race Relations, hosted by The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU. Hill is the co-founder of Lodge Freeway Media and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. Her 2022 autobiography, “Uphill: A Memoir,” is a character-rich, unapologetically provocative narrative in which Hill reveals her tumultuous childhood, complicated family dynamics and life-saving journey into journalism.

Hill follows a long history of renowned historians, writers and changemakers that have spoken at ASU for the lecture series, including Mamie Locke, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Danny Glover and, most recently in 2023, Ibram X. Kendi. The series is the only endowed lecture at any college or university with a rich, 20-plus-year history featuring guest lecturers on race relations.

Tuesday April 23, 2024 6pm
ASU Tempe campus, Armstrong Hall, Roskind Great Hall (ARM 101)

Delivering Democracy 2024

A Dynamic Dialogue

Dr. Lois Brown will ask her guest, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the acclaimed journalist and one of the first students to integrate University of Georgia, to reflect on Dr. King’s Legacy during the CSRD Delivering Democracy event.

Saturday April 13, 2024 3 pm
In person or online
Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church
1401 E Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034

“Two Models of Patriotism: Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr.” with Lucas Morel

The great civil rights leaders Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. both understood themselves to be American patriots but offered very different proposals for promoting the country’s welfare. Professor Lucas Morel contrasts their views, noting the strengths of each, to draw lessons for 21st-century America.

Wednesday January 17, 2024 5-7pm
Carson Ballroom, Old Main, 400 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ, 85281

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and economic justice

Join us this MLK day as we look at the "radical" King through the lens of economic justice. What is “economic justice” and how is economic justice at the nexus of Dr. King’s ideas of social and racial justice?

Monday January 15, 2024 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.