Martin Luther King Jr Unity Breakfast

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The Martin Luther King Jr Unity Breakfast is an annual celebration held on the morning of the Martin Luther King Jr federal holiday observed since 1996 on the third Monday of January. The event is coordinated by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Conference for Community and Justice, Operation New Birmingham's Community Affairs Committee, Greater Birmingham Ministries, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The idea of holding an annual event to honor the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr originated with Abraham Woods Jr, chair of the Birmingham SCLC. Odessa Woolfolk and her colleagues in the Community Affairs Committee suggested holding a celebratory breakfast. The event has continued to grow each year, featuring a keynote address, awards, and performances by area musical groups. Community Affairs Committee chair Aaron Carlton organized the event for nearly three decades.

Part of the breakfast honor essays submitted by metro area high school students on topics associated with King's legacy. The authors of the top three essays are awarded college scholarships. The winners from each school are invited to be guests at the breakfast. Student artwork is also exhibited as part of the event.

Themes and guests


  • Hammontree, John (January 19, 2016) "2016 MLK Unity Breakfast pushes young leaders to tackle poverty, education." The Birmingham News
  • Edgemon, Erin (December 22, 2016) "Birmingham spending nearly $100,000 on 31st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast." The Birmingham News
  • Wright, Erica (January 21, 2020) "2020 MLK Unity Breakfast draws thousands to downtown Birmingham." The Birmingham Times
  • Pillion, Dennis (January 17, 2022) "Killer Mike’s MLK Day message to Birmingham: Always be organizing." The Birmingham News

External links