2024 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award Winners Announced

Published on January 25, 2024

Atrium Health Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Growing the Dream Award Luncheon (Photo courtesy of Jon Strayhorn)

Atrium Health Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Growing the Dream Award Luncheon (Photo courtesy of Jon Strayhorn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 25, 2024) - Ahead of the annual Charlotte-Mecklenburg MLK National Holiday Celebration, which took place between Jan. 12-15, residents had the opportunity to nominate individuals in the community who were deserving of recognition. For many years, the MLK planning committee and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations have used the Growing the Dream Award and Medallion Award to spotlight Charlotteans who work tirelessly to better the community and honor Dr. King in the process.

Atrium Health Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Growing the Dream Award

The Growing the Dream Award acknowledges the unsung heroes who foster unity and promote diversity and multiculturalism. These individuals have the following qualities:

  • Leaders who embrace service and help others to grow.
  • Called to serve others and consider it an honor to do so.
  • Grassroot residents who persevere despite the hardships in their lives.

As announced and celebrated at a luncheon held over the holiday weekend, the 2024 Growing the Dream Award winners, in no particular order, are:

  • Derrik Anderson.
  • Delvico Dunn.
  • LaToya Faustin.
  • Robyn Hamilton.
  • Zandrea Lattimore Jones.
  • Jamall Kinard.
  • Rory Sheriff.
  • Gene Winchester.

The 2024 Seed Award winner is Mark Jerrell, and the 2024 Root Award winner is James Ferguson Sr.

Previous Growing the Dream Award Winners


  • Kieth Cockrell
  • Marvin Ellison
  • Eugene Woods


  • Dr. David Jacob
  • Ashani Hadiyah Smith


  • Tchernavia Montgomery
  • Deborah Woolard


  • Gerald Smith
  • Tiffany Jones
  • Debbie Smith
  • Joe McGirt
  • Charis Blackmon
  • Gemini Boyd
  • Curtis Bridges
  • David Legrand

2020 Seed Award Winners

  • Marshall Collins
  • Bob Johnson
  • Willie Martin
  • Tom Baldwin

2020 Root Award Winners:

  • David and Nicole Tepper

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Medallion Award

The Medallion Award recognizes those who exemplify the work of Dr. King and inspire others with their actions. Winners promote the ideals of racial equality and social justice as espoused by Dr. King, including, but not limited to:

  • Celebrating and promoting the worth of all human beings.
  • Pursuing equal rights by nonviolent means.
  • Encouraging people of diverse cultures to live together in a spirit of love and acceptance.
  • An active involvement in community service.
  • Resisting injustice wherever it is found.
  • Promoting intergroup relations and understanding.

The 2024 MLK Medallion winner is John C. Barnett—an educator, advocate and warrior for the Black community who epitomizes the essence of a community leader.

Larry Mackey and Melanie Dunston, two other finalists for the Medallion Award, have been recognized with Keeper of the Dream Awards for their efforts in the community.

Previous Medallion Award Winners

2023: Alma Adams

2022: William (Butch) Simmons

2021: Reverend Benjamin Boswell

2020: Anna Hood and Sarah Coleman (posthumous)

2019: Jacotran Potts

2018: Greg Jackson

2017: Dr. Peter M. Wherry

2016: Reverend Rodney Sadler

2015: Jermaine Nakia Lee

2014: Deborah Walker, Ph.D.

2013: Steve Crump

2012: (National observance partnered with McCrory YMCA)

2011: Susan Burgess (posthumous)

2010: Dr. David Jacobs

2009: Pastor Barbara Brewton (posthumous)

2008: Julius Chambers, Stephanie Jennings (posthumous) and Valerie Woodard (posthumous)

2007: David L. Taylor

2006: Lenny Springs

2005: Dr. Clifford Jones

2004: Arthur Griffin, Dr. Wilhelmina Rembert, Carson Beckwith and General Cornell A. Wilson Jr.

2003: Donald Baker (posthumous) and Dr. David Hunter

2002: Joseph Powell and Dr. Vernon Herron

2001: Larry B. Murray

2000: Judge Shirley Fulton

1999: Malcolm E. Everett III and James E. Ferguson II

1998: Joe Martin

1997: Diane English

1996: Clara Williams

1995: Jack L. Bullard

1994: Robert L. Davis Jr.

1993: Theresa D. Elder

1992: Bishop George E. Battle Jr.

1991: Ron Leeper

1990: Dr. Leon Riddick

1989: Dr. Loomis McGlohon

1988: Harvey Gantt

1987: Dr. Douglas W. Olderburg

1986: Sarah Stevenson

1985: Kelly Alexander Sr., Marion Cannon, Kitty Huffman, and Charles Jones

If you have a deserving individual in mind for either of the awards in 2025, keep an eye out for nominations opening up again toward the end of this year!