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ATLANTA – Princeton University scholar Cornel West will deliver the keynote address marking the 81st birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Atlanta church where the slain civil rights leader preached.

West, who teaches in Princeton’s Center for African American Studies, is a theologian, intellectual and author of “Race Matters” and 19 other books.

The Jan. 18 ceremony at Ebenezer Baptist Church — where King preached from 1960 until his death in 1968 — is the 25th federal observance of King’s birthday. The civil rights icon and 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner is the only black American whose birthday is a national holiday.

The King Center is also honoring producer Quincy Jones at its annual “Salute to Greatness” dinner in downtown Atlanta on Jan. 16.


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