Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration

Monday, January 16, 2017 | 7:30 a.m.

The Akron Urban League is pleased to present its annual celebration of the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This breakfast is an opportunity for all residents of Summit County to come together and help us share Dr. King’s vision of a more perfect union.

Overcoming in the 21st Century

The theme of this year’s breakfast is ‘Overcoming in the 21st Century’.  Dr. King demonstrated how to overcome in his lifetime and inspired us to continue no matter the odds. It is our goal that you will be inspired by this celebration and join us as we continue to challenge ourselves and others to change any tides of trouble into waves of hope by working together to eliminate the disparities in health, education and employment.

This Year’s Event

Rev. Ronald J. Fowler
Rev. Ronald J. Fowler
Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge
Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge
Mayor Daniel Horrigan
Mayor Daniel Horrigan







Honorary event co-chairs, Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, and Akron Mayor Daniel M. Horrigan will provide opening remarks as we present our inaugural Lifetime Achievement award to Reverend Ronald J. Fowler.  Over the course of his life and career, Reverend Fowler has impacted so many in the Greater Akron Region through education, spiritual guidance, and personal mentorship.

Keynote Speaker

Antwone Fisher


Antwone Fisher is an American director, screenwriter, author and film producer. His 2001 autobiographical book Finding Fish was a New York Times Best Seller. The 2002 film Antwone Fisher was written by Fisher and directed by Denzel Washington.

Fisher was born in prison to a single mother. His father Edward Elkins had been shot dead by a jealous girlfriend two months earlier. Antwone was placed in a foster home weeks after he was born and remained in foster care through most of his childhood. After living with a foster mother for two years, Fisher was taken away from her. He was then placed into another foster home with a family named the Picketts. He spent 14 years of his childhood with the Picketts and was abused physically, verbally and sexually. He was then removed from the Pickett home after having a fight with his foster mother. Antwone was sent to George Junior Republic School, a discipline school for boys, from which he graduated prior to joining the United States Navy.

Fisher joined the U.S. Navy to escape homelessness. Fisher spent 11 years in the Navy. Here, he met Lt. Commander Williams, a psychiatrist who helped him work through his emotional traumas. After the discharge from the Navy, Fisher joined the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a federal correctional officer.

After three years with the Bureau of Prisons, he began work as a security guard for Sony Pictures. It was there Fisher decided to find his true family members. He contacted Annette Elkins, who turned out to be his aunt. Within months of this contact, Fisher met all of his family, including his mother Eva Mae. He learned that she had given birth to four other children who were all taken away as wards of the state. Fisher said after their meeting: “In the place inside me where the hurt of abandonment had been, now only compassion lived.”

Fisher penned his screenplay. Stories about Fisher’s life began spreading around the Sony lot, and many people from Hollywood lined up to develop the project. He initially declined all offers. After writing over 40 drafts, he sold the rights to his story to 20th Century Fox. The feature film Antwone Fisher was directed by Denzel Washington, and starred Derek Luke in the title role. Fisher was credited as both writer and co-producer.

Fisher is still working as a director, author, poet, lecturer, college professor, movie producer and screenwriter. His latest book, A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie: And Other Lessons for Succeeding in Life, was published by Simon & Schuster in April 2010.

Fisher has written and directed other films, including a documentary, This Life of Mine: The Story of Leon T. Garr, a short film, “My Summer Friend”, starring Michael T. Williams, and was a co-writer of the 2006 American drama ATL.

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