College of Medicine to Host Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, University Hospital and the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati will welcome Carl Westmoreland as keynote speaker for their co-sponsored annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Celebration from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, in UC’s Kresge Auditorium (231 Albert Sabin Way).
The event, which celebrates the life and service of Martin Luther King Jr., includes presentations and speeches by prominent Cincinnati clergy members and civic leaders, including Westmoreland.
The Martin Luther King Choir will also perform, and the Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater Cincinnati and Vicinity and University Hospital will present their 2009 "Spirit Awards” and "Living the Dream" Grants, respectively.
A Cincinnati resident for over 40 years, Westmoreland first became well known in the 1960s for his work to promote historic preservation as part of urban renewal efforts.
In 1967, Westmoreland and a group of his neighbors used a $7,000 grant to form the Mount Auburn Good Housing Foundation, which ultimately grew into a multi-million dollar group responsible for the renovation of more than 2,000 homes and businesses in Cincinnati's core.
Westmoreland subsequently became the first African-American trustee for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In 1979, he was nominated for the Rockefeller Award for Historic Preservation and in 1993 won the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award, which recognized his continuing dedication to revitalizing and preserving inner-city neighborhoods.
Westmoreland was heavily involved in the planning and development of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which he now serves as a senior adviser and curator of its cornerstone exhibit, the Slave Pen.
This historic building, built in the 1830s, was a holding pen used by slave trader Capt. John W. Anderson. It was rediscovered intact in 1976, surrounded by a barn in Mason County, Kentucky.
After the barn's owner approached the then-fledgling Freedom Center in 1998 about incorporating the pen into the museum's planned exhibits, Westmoreland spent four years researching it. He was instrumental in securing its disassembly, transport to and reassembly in Cincinnati.
“It is especially timely, given the recent election, which was a historic step toward the fulfillment of Dr. King's dream, that we welcome not only a distinguished member of our community, but a person who has such a deep and unique understanding of the history which informs the ongoing struggle for equality and civil rights,” says Joyce Kinley, manager of community relations and external affairs at University Hospital and chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee.
Westmoreland will be available for interviews prior to the event, along with event honorees and other dignitaries, between 10 and 10:45 a.m. in the Dean’s Conference Room, Located on the Medical Sciences Buildin's E-level (down the hall from Kresge Auditorium and adjacent to the main entrance of the CARE/Crawley Building).
The event is open to the public and media are encouraged to attend.