Gossip & Celebrity

Virtual Viewing: Tune In To These National MLK Day Celebrations

With COVID continuing to spread across the country, it's absolutely unsurprising that a number of King Day parades and celebrations to honor our beloved Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have been canceled. Still, museums nationwide are encouraging Americans to gather around their computers to virtually memorialize the life and legacy of the history-making icon. 

With COVID continuing to spread across the country, it’s absolutely unsurprising that a number of King Day parades and celebrations to honor our beloved Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have been canceled. Still, museums nationwide are encouraging Americans to gather around their computers to virtually memorialize the life and legacy of the history-making icon.

Martin Luther King

Source: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images / Getty

Below are just a few of the many virtual MLK Day celebrations you can safely partake in from the comfort of your home.

The King Center, Atlanta

Of course, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta, GA is honoring the legend. The King Center’s annual celebration will take place with limited socially-distant attendnace at Ebeneezer Baptist Church. It will also be viewable virtually appearances from President-Elect Joe Biden, activist Tamika D. Mallory, keynote speaker Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Bernice A King, Kirk Franklin, and more.

Date & Time

Monday, January 18, 2021

10:30 A.M. ET- 1:45 EST

Location
Martin Luther King Jr. Center, Virtually

Event Type
Performances & Storytime

Cost
Free

Livestream below.

National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, Memphis

The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, the assassination site of MLK, is holding a virtual celebration in the activist’s memory titled King Day: A Virtual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday.

Date & Time

Monday, January 18, 2021

12:00 pm & 6:00 pm central

Location
National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, Virtually

Event Type
Performances & Storytime

Cost
Free

King Day: A Virtual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday will air via livestream at 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm Central and showcase Dr. King’s work, the history of how the national holiday came to be, as well as how the museum has celebrated the holiday in years past.

Performers include Memphis musicians Garry Goin, TykeT, Karen Brown, Adajyo, and more, and Dr. Hasan Jeffries, Associate Professor at Ohio State University and editor of Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement, will give scholarly insight on Dr. King’s life and legacy.

Register to tune in HERE.

SPECIAL KING DAY SMALL BUT MIGHTY STORYTIME EDITION, 2:00 P.M. & 4 P.M. Central

For young viewers, museum educator Dory Lerner will share a “Small But Mighty Storytime” reading of the book My Uncle Martin’s Big Heart written by Angela Farris Watkins. Through the Eyes of His Niece written by Angela Farris Watkins, PhD and illustrated by Eric Velasquez. This story reminds us that although Dr. King was a great hero and civil rights leader, he was also a human being, a father, an uncle, a husband, and a friend. He was kind and joyous and loved to share that joy with his family. We get to know Dr. King better as a person, and learn that his big heart inspired the world. After our reading, we will make our own “BIG HEARTS” to remind each one of us how we can spread love and peace on King Day and every day. This special storytime session is sponsored by Macy’s.

Click HERE to tune in.

The National Museum Of African-American History & Culture, Washington D.C.

The People’s Holiday

Date & Time

Monday, January 18, 2021

4:00 pm to 5:15 pm

Location
African American History and Culture Museum Virtually

Event Type
Celebrations, Performances, Webcasts & Online

Cost
Free

NMAAHC’s annual community program entitled The People’s Holiday will feature a digital performance by six-time Grammy award-winning bassist, composer, and educator Christian McBride and center around Dr. Kings’ commitment to racial equality, justice, and service.

Christian McBride’s 30-minute showcase will be from his social justice-focused album entitled, The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons. Additionally, there will be live performances of students from The Julliard School and a poetry reading by award-winning poet, Evie Shockley.

The concert will conclude with a conversation between Christian McBride and Dr. Dwandalyn Reece, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs | Curator of Music and Performing Arts. The People’s Holiday has been generously supported by The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.

The California African American Museum, Los Angeles

The CA African American Museum is hosting MLK Day Celebration 2021 on Monday, Jan. 18 and inviting Californians and the like to celebrate MLK “immersed in music, culture, and community.”

Virtual events include a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by members of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), the largest majority-Black orchestra in America, a panel on King’s final campaign supporting Memphis, Tennessee sanitation workers and a reading by author Alice Faye Duncan.

Date & Time

Monday, January 18, 2021

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location
California African American Museum Virtually

Event Type
Virtual Festival

Cost
Free

11:00 am, King Study Group
Join the King Study Group to engage with King’s speech in support of Memphis Sanitation Workers. Delivered the day before he was assassinated in 1968, this speech is commonly known by the theme in its concluding paragraph: “I’ve been to the mountaintop.” The speech is most remembered for that chilling phrase, which foreshadowed his untimely death, but King’s true message was about economic power, workers’ rights, and the strengthening of Black institutions.

1:00 pm, Black Workers and Social Justice: From Memphis, 1968, to Today
The labor movement was—and remains—essential to the struggle for racial equity and civil rights. King’s final campaign was undertaken to support striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Hear a distinguished panel discuss the struggle in Memphis, the right to strike, and Black labor’s role in the California economy and in today’s movement for social change. Panelists include Janel Bailey, Co-Executive Director of Organizing and Programs at the Los Angeles Black Worker Center; Steven Pitts, Associate Director emeritus of UC Berkeley Labor Center and host of the podcast, Black Work Talk; and sanitation worker Rodney Fowler Sr., Vice President District 5, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees District Council 36, and President, Local 127, San Diego. The panel will be moderated by CAAM’s History Curator, Susan D. Anderson.

2:30 pm, Family Story Time and Poetry Workshop
Close out the holiday with this family program celebrating MLK. Author Alice Faye Duncan will read excerpts from her children’s book, Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968, followed by a haiku writing workshop.

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