On January 15, 2024 (Martin Luther King Holiday), Heinzerling Community’s Director of Therapy, Rachel Ashburn Mallory was presented the first Martin Luther King Breakfast Committee Service Award. This award was a monetary award for the J. Ashburn, Jr. Youth Center, which was founded in 1962 by her late father, Dr. Jacob Julian Ashburn, in honor of his father (her grandfather), the late Rev. Jacob Ashburn, Jr.
Rev. Jacob Ashburn, Jr. served as the pastor of Oakley Baptist Church, located on the corner of Oakley Ave. and Sheridan Streets on the West Side of Columbus, Ohio (fondly known as the “Hilltop”), from 1917 until his death in 1955 (38 years).
He was well known for his boisterous laugh and infectious smile. He had a great love for all people and especially children. He is remembered as the preacher who “walked the streets of the Hilltop” and gave personal New Year greetings with his door to door visits. He was one of the first African Americans to be elected and serve as a Representative in the Ohio State legislature in the 1940s. Upon his father’s death, Dr. Jacob Julian Ashburn was called to pastor the Church and served as pastor from 1955 until his death in 1984 (29 Years). The J. Ashburn, Jr. Youth Center was originally housed in the Church building (relocated from Oakley Ave. and Sheridan, to around the corner at 64 South Highland Avenue), and is now in its own building (built by the JAJYC Board and Community) located on Clarendon Ave and is operated under the umbrella of the Central Ohio Boys and Girls Club (Branch: J. Ashburn, Jr. Boys and Girls Club).
The Martin Luther King Breakfast Committee, Inc. was established 39 years ago and is billed as the largest sit down breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, in the United States. The breakfast program features Columbus, Ohio middle and high school student speakers, one speaker from Morehouse College – Dr. King’s alma mater, and one Key Note Speaker who is a member of Dr. King’s family. As it was this year, the breakfast is held annually at the Columbus Convention Center. Rachel shared the dais with several dignitaries including Columbus City Mayor Andrew Ginther, Shannon Hardin, President of Columbus City Council, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, U.S. Congressman Mike Carey and the new President of The Ohio State University, President Walter “Ted” Carter, Jr..