Staff file photo / Members of the Howard School marching band walk past a mural of Martin Luther King Jr. while lining up for a memorial parade and march along M.L. King Boulevard in 2018.

This story was updated at 12:22 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, to add a Chattanooga Prep School event.

Not just a federal holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national day of service, as designated by Congress in 1994 with the passage of the King Holiday and Service Act.

Here are some of the ways Chattanooga-area residents are commemorating the life and legacy of the civil-rights leader.

[READ MORE: Research looks for why Black residents are leaving Chattanooga]

— Chattanooga Prep School theater students will present "Speak Like a King," a program of speeches, songs, artwork and other tributes, at 10 a.m. Monday at Bessie Smith Cultural Center, 200 E. M.L. King Blvd. Montrell Besley, director of community engagement, says "Speak Like a King" has been a tradition since the all-boys public charter school opened in 2018. The program will be livestreamed on YouTube. The museum will be open for tours following the presentation.

— Chattanooga State Community College, as part of the Bond Arts and Culture Series, will present a virtual event 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday. "It Starts with Me: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice" will be moderated by Quincy Jenkins, executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion. Guest panelists include Barbara Scales, executive director of compliance, diversity, equity and inclusion at Motlow State Community College, and LaNeeca Williams, chief diversity officer and Title IX coordinator at Austin Peay State University. The free program may be accessed via Zoom with the ID Number 833 2721 5619 and Passcode 103001. Questions? Call 423-697-2409.

CHI Memorial will stream a "Peace, Love & Unity" service at 4 p.m. Monday at Guest speaker is Mary Lambert, director of community health and public safety for the city of Chattanooga. Charles Collins II, a retired music educator for Hamilton County Schools and Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, will provide music. This is the 29th year for the commemoration. This year's theme centers on health equity.

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Staff File Photo by Robin Rudd / Mary Lambert, the city of Chattanooga's director of community health and public safety, will be the guest speaker for CHI Memorial's "Peace, Love & Unity" virtual service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

— Cleveland State Community College plans an annual "I Have a Dream" Weekend. At 4 p.m. Sunday, donations of gloves, hats and canned goods for The Caring Place will be collected at Broad Street United Methodist Church, 155 Central Ave. NW. During that time, a community choir will sing songs of celebration at the church. Anyone who would like to participate should join the choir rehearsal 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday. All ages are welcome. At 9 a.m. Monday, there will be a commemorative march downtown, starting at the Bradley County Courthouse, 155 Ocoee St. Questions? Call 423-473-2397.

— Covenant College will mark the day with several events Monday. Service projects at Bethlehem Center are scheduled 9 a.m.-noon. At 2 p.m., Carl Ellis Jr., senior fellow of the African American Leadership Initiative and provost's professor of theology and culture at Reformed Theological Seminary, will lead an academic lecture on "A Beloved Community." Ellis, who met and marched with Martin Luther King Jr., will share the biblical perspective of King's vision of a beloved community. His lecture will be followed at 3 p.m. by a panel discussion in Sanderson Hall, Room 215. The day ends with a gospel concert with New City Music and Covenant College musicians at 6 p.m. Questions? Call 706-820-1560.

— Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, will host a weeklong series of events. Registration is free to all events, but seating is limited. Register at

The commemorative week begins with the MLK Jr. Unity March through downtown Cleveland, starting at 8:45 a.m. Monday from Lee's School of Business on Church Street. At 6 p.m. Monday, professors Mary McCampbell and Ruthie Wienk will present "Music of the Civil Rights Era" in Johnson Lecture Hall in the Humanities Center on Parker Street.

Chris Singleton, a former professional baseball player who now tours with a message of unity, forgiveness and resilience, will speak in Chapel at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday in Conn Center. Singleton's mother was killed in the Mother Emanuel AME Church tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. Singleton will be available for a Q&A session at 2:45 p.m. in the Humanities Center, Room 108, and for a Time of Reflection at 7 p.m. in the School of Religion, Room 113.

Wednesday, student, staff, faculty and community authors will gather for book signings at noon in the Great Room in Lee's Science and Math Complex.

At 6 p.m. Jan. 20, the movie "Honoring a Civil Rights Leader: Cruz Reynoso" will be shown in the Doris Johnson Screening Room in the Communication Arts Building. Reynoso was the first Latino California Supreme Court justice. The screening will be hosted by the late jurist's son, Rondall Reynoso, an art professor at Lee.

Events conclude at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 in Conn Center with "One Body Service," a time of worship hosted by the Mosaic Council.

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Cherry blossoms begin to bud at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in March of 2021 in Washington, D.C. / AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

— Southern Adventist University focuses its efforts on MLK service projects, which are expanding to an entire weekend. The goal is for at least 1,200 volunteers to take part in more than 70 projects with more than 30 organizations over four days, Friday through Monday. At the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition, volunteers will pack "blessing bags" that include toiletries and snacks. At other locations, their tasks might include cleaning, painting, visiting with the elderly or serving meals.

Unity Group of Chattanooga's Martin Luther King Week Celebration continues through Monday. Topics for virtual programs are "Making Our Communities Decent & Safe Places To Live" at 7 p.m. Thursday, "Riots Are the Voices of the Unheard" at 7 p.m. Friday, "Continuing the Movement for Community Control" at 7 p.m. Saturday and "COVID-19 Is Not Dead" at 1 p.m. Sunday. On Monday, there will be a Beloved Community Gathering at 1 p.m. at Miller Park, 850 Market St. This year's parade has been canceled. Visit for registration links.

— University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Office of Multicultural Affairs is co-sponsoring a virtual MLK Memorial Scholarship Breakfast with Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at 10:30 a.m. Monday. The Zoom program is open to the public. The theme is "Equity, Diversity and Opportunity: If Not Now, When?" The Office of Multicultural Affairs also is collaborating with the city of Chattanooga's Department of Equity and Community Engagement and several other agencies on a donation drive.

— Compiled by Lisa Denton