Vision and Mission

The Martin Luther King Coalition exists to:

  • advocate the principles of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • provide an annual Martin Luther King Day Community Celebration where the public can congregate, celebrate, & be inspired
  • annually present the Martin Luther King Award to a member of the NH Community who has contributed significantly to the continued efforts to make Martin Luther King’s dream a reality
  • advocate the teaching of the principles of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the youth of New Hampshire
  • give youth an opportunity to use that knowledge, and, through participating in the Martin Luther King Arts & Writing Contest, demonstrate & share what those principles mean to them


The Steering Committee is responsible for all the planning that make the Martin Luther King Day Community Celebration, the presentation of the Martin Luther King Award, the Writing Contest & the presentation of the Lionel Washington Johnson Youth Awards.

Member Organization Representative
American Friends Service Committee-NH Maggie Fogarty
Greater Manchester Black Scholarship Foundation Jessica Richardson
Manchester Education Association Maxine Mosley
Manchester NAACP James McKim Jr.
National Education Association-NH Maxine Mosley
New Hampshire Council of Churches Rev. Heidi Harrington Heath
State Employees Association of NH, SEIU 1984 Cullen Tiernan
Temple Adath Yeshurun Rabbi Beth Davidson
The Currier Museum Alan Chong and Bruce McColl
Welcoming NH David Holt
Rights and Democracy Sebastian Fuentes
City Year Chris Potter
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church Rev. Jason Wells


1968: Calls begin for a Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday immediately after his assassination

1979: New Hampshire legislature proposes its first bill to declare a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day but the law did not pass.

1982: While many cities, states, organizations, schools, and others adopt the holiday, Coretta Scott King and the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change called for local celebrations of Dr. King’s birthday as a way to show support for the national holiday. 

1983: In Manchester, the local branch of the NAACP, the YWCA, and the Greater Manchester Black Scholarship Foundation responded to the call and organized the first local celebration of Dr. King’s birthday, held at the parish hall of Brookside Congregational Church. A major snowstorm postponed the event until 1984.

1983: Legislation passed declaring the third Monday of January to be Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The law was signed by President Ronald Reagan. Some states, including New Hampshire, resisted recognizing the holiday.

1984-1988: The NH MLK Coalition continues to grow and becomes a diverse group including faith groups, unions, educational institutions, local agencies, and social justice advocates. Local MLK Day events were established in Nashua and Portsmouth.

1988: Members of the MLK Coalition invited the groups from Nashua and Portsmouth to meet to develop an organized campaign to win passage of the state holiday.

1999: The state holiday is adopted.

2000: New Hampshire observes its first official Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

2022: MLK Coalition celebrated is 40th anniversary.