Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Week Celebration


Unity Celebration, 2016In 1986, the MLK Unity Week Celebration started with just a group of people gathered around the flagpole outside of City Hall to reflect on the words and purpose of Dr. King’s life. From the seeds sown there, Spartanburg's annual celebration has grown to include an annual gathering attended by thousands each year, and has included such notable keynote speakers as James Earl Jones, Ted Kennedy Jr., Dr. Mae Jemison, Morris Dees, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Miss America 2004, Erica Dunlap, and former Charleston Mayor, Joe Riley.

The Unity Week celebration includes a Unity Walk, a Day of Service, a movie night and the annual capstone celebration event on Monday night. See the schedule on this page to the right for complete details. The MLK Unity Week is a centerpiece of the City's Be One initiative, which includes a variety of community diversity events throughout the year.

Movie Night, Friday, January 17

Join us at the Spartanburg County Public Library Headquarters (151 S Church St.) on Friday, January 17 at 6 p.m. for a screening of the powerful documentary, I Am Not Your Negro. Based on an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin's reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as his personal observations of American history.

Walk As One, Saturday, January 18

Our annual Walk As One event gives members of our diverse community a chance to join together in fellowship to walk together in unity, both in reflection on the legacy of Dr. King and in support of the continuing work to realize his dream of unity and equity. For 2020, the walk will begin on the campus of Wofford College at the Burwell Building.

Day of Service, Monday, January 20

Every year the City partners with the United Way of the Piedmont to provide opportunities for locals to serve and continue the tradition of having "a day on rather than a day off." To sign up for a volunteer opportunity, follow the link below.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Celebration Scholarship

This year the Unity Week committee has decided to give out two scholarships. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Celebration Scholarship is an opportunity to provide academic financial support to current high school seniors that attend school in Spartanburg County.  Two $1,000.00 scholarships will be provided to the recipients of the scholarships to be applied to the higher learning institution they select. 

Students will need to provide a 500-word essay on the provided topic based on the theme. This year’s Unity week theme is 20/20 Vision: His Vision, Our Mission. Dr. King envisioned a life where people of any race, religion or background could join together and fight alongside each other rather than against each other. In what ways have you been a part or helped his vision come to life?

For more information or to apply for the 2020 scholarship, click here.

Who to Know

Events Schedule

Friday, January 17

Movie night: "I Am Not Your Negro"

6:00p.m., Spartanburg County Public Library Headquarters, 151 S Church St. 

Saturday, January 18

Walk As One - 9 a.m., Wofford College Campus

Monday, January 20

Unity Celebration

6:30 p.m., Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium 


flickr Photostream Mayor's Unity Breakfast