At the ceremony, the UNC MLK Student Scholarship and Unsung Heroes awards will be presented.
This is not the first time UNC has celebrated the life of King – the University first celebrated King’s life in 1983 before it was first recognized as a national holiday and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
UNC is the only school that has been presented with the "Making of the King Holiday Award" by the MLK Federal Holiday Commission.
This week, students and faculty reflected on what MLK Day means to them and what it means to celebrate King's life at UNC.
Conversations throughout the year have been dominated by Silent Sam and whether it should have a place here at UNC. When Chancellor Carol Folt announced her resignation Monday, she also authorized removal of Silent Sam's base and commemorative plaques, which was done later that night.
“As chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I offer our University’s deepest apology for the injustices of slavery,” Folt said at the 2018 University Day ceremony.
Now, in January, debates over the validity of UNC highlighting Martin Luther King, Jr. remain.
“UNC is a very diverse school, and everyone should be able to come together to know that at the end of the day we are all the same,” said Courtney Reives, assistant location manager for Carolina Dining Services.
For junior Jonae Benson, seeing other women of color at a predominantly white school has made the day's meaning even more significant.
"We have come so far and to see girls that look like me at a place like Carolina is very eye-opening," Benson said. "This could not have happened decades ago."
Silent Sam and the pedestal it once stood on are gone, but some students still see ties to racial inequality on campus.
“Although the racial climate is not what it use to be many decades ago, a lot of structures and institutions that we have are still permitted with racism and inequality in general,” said UNC sophomore Jordyn Carrier. “It’s a little hypocritical to have the issue of a Confederate statue on a campus that proclaims to be anti-racist while simultaneously celebrating the legacy of a person who would not agree with it at all.”