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2020 Martin L. King Jr. Day Celebration Set for Jan. 19-20


JONESBORO – Activities associated with the 2020 Northeast Arkansas Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Day celebration have been announced by the Northeast Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. planning committee. 

Events begin Sunday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m., with the Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Youth Celebration, held in the Jonesboro High School Auditorium, 301 Hurricane Drive.

On the national holiday Monday, Jan. 20, a march/parade, starts at 10:30 a.m. on the campus of Arkansas State University, starting at the Military Science Building, 1921 Aggie Road, then moving east to Marion Berry Parkway and north to Johnson Ave.

Once on Johnson Ave., the march/parade will proceed east then turn south onto University Loop East, concluding at Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive.

March/parade participants are encouraged to start gathering at the Military Science Building at 10 a.m. for coffee, donuts and instructions.

The annual Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Day community program will begin after the march/parade at noon in Fowler Center's Riceland Hall.

Chancellor Kelly Damphousse will welcome the audience and bring greetings on behalf of Arkansas State University.

The featured speaker will be John Register, Paralympic silver medalist, two-time TEDx speaker and CEO of John Register Inspired Communications International of Colorado Springs, Colo.  A Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran, Register is a four-time collegiate All-American track athlete. He participated in the Army’s World Class Athlete Program and won nine gold medals in the Armed Services Competition, as well as two World Military Championships.   

In 1988, Register qualified for the Olympic trials in the 110-meter hurdles, and again in 1992 for the 400-meter hurdles. On May 17, 1994, however, his life would be forever altered with one misstep over the hurdle. A faulty landing severed an artery in his left knee, eventually requiring the amputation of the leg.

During his long journey to recovery, he began sports as a conduit to rehabilitation.  After 18 months of rehabilitation and training, Register qualified for — and made — the 1996 Paralympic team.  He has served as a motivational speaker and campaigned with former First Lady Michelle Obama along with many others. Also, he has competed internationally.

At 2:30 p.m., at the intersection of Commerce and Highland Streets, the City of Jonesboro will unveil the new Dr. Martin L. King Jr. street signs.

All MLK Day activities are open to the public, and everyone is welcome to participate as a group or individually.

This year’s program will mark the 18th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day events in Jonesboro, according to Kenisha Ross, chair of the MLK Day planning committee.  For additional details, contact Ross at (870) 897-3076 or kenisha_ross@yahoo.com.

John Register
John Register, featured speaker for Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Day celebration.