Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is Friday, Jan. 15, but the official holiday is the following Monday, Jan. 18. Local events celebrating the life and legacy of the slain civil rights leader will run throughout the week. Here are a few:
Thursday, Jan. 14:
• Youth celebration: Lipinsky Auditorium, UNCA campus. 4 p.m. Info: 335-6896.
Saturday, Jan. 16:
• 8:30 a.m.: 29th Annual Martin Luther King Association Prayer Breakfast, with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. as keynote speaker. Grove Park Inn Grand Ballroom. This event is sold out.
• 10:30 a.m.: Book signing by Leonard Pitts, Hoover Room, Grove Park Inn.
• 3 p.m.: Book signing by Leonard Pitts at Malaprop's Bookstore and Café
• 11 a.m.: Pride march from Justice Center to Community Center.
Sunday, Jan. 17:
• 3 p.m.: Commemorative service, Harris Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church (26 Prospect St. in Canton).
Monday, Jan. 18:
• 7:30 a.m.: Prayer Breakfast, International Room, Lambuth Inn, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. Speaker: Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy. $15 ($7 children 11 and under).
• Noon (gather beginning at 11:30 a.m.): The MLK Association will lead a Peace March and Rally from Nazareth First Baptist Church, 46 Pine St. (corner of MLK Drive) to Martin Luther King Park. The featured speaker will be local health-care-reform advocate Leslie Boyd. The march is co-sponsored by the city of Asheville and Buncombe County.
• 6 p.m.: Candlelight Service,honoring community organizations working to fulfill King's dream. St. Matthias Episcopal Church, 1 Dundee St. (off South Charlotte Street).
Tuesday, Jan. 19:
• 7 p.m.: Unity service, "Celebrating King's Faith and Dream through Song, Word and Art." UNCA Highsmith University Union Grotto. Free. Info: 251-6585.
Wednesday, Jan 20:
• 7 p.m.: MLK Day celebration, keynote speaker: Robert D. Bullard of Clark Atlanta University. Lipinsky Auditorium, UNCA. $5 (free for UNCA staff, faculty and students). Info: 232-5000.