Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Erin ToaleEvents

Martin Luther King Jr. holding hands with children of different races in front of text that reads "Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day"

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or MLK Day, is a federal holiday in the United States which celebrates the birthday and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Although King’s birthday is January 15, 1929, MLK Day is observed on the third Monday of January each year. King was known for his commitment to nonviolent activism during the civil rights movement, and was assassinated for his beliefs in 1968. MLK Day has been celebrated in all 50 states since 2000. Several community partners are featuring family-friendly virtual programming in observation of MLK day throughout the weekend. Please find some of the highlights below!

Sunday 1/17, noon-1 CST, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, “The Journey” Read Along
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is hosting a read along featuring books from the museum’s Children’s Corner. The readings will highlight Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the broader civil rights movement he participated in. Titles include “The Journey” by Francesca Sanna, which tackles the hardships faced by refugees as they flee their home countries, as well as other children’s books themed around issues of social justice. 

Monday, 1/18, 10am, 1pm, & 7pm CST, Old Town School of Folk Music, Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
Old Town School of Folk Music presents songs of peace and justice all day long! They invite families to be inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and gather in community as they celebrate the life and philosophy of this great American leader. Don’t miss the Wiggleworms Mixtape for kids 6 and under at 10am.

Monday, 1/18, noon-4pm CST, Hyde Park Art Center, Gamechangers & Name Changers: A Virtual MLK Day Celebration
Our friends at the Hyde Park Art Center are hosting a virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration for learners of all ages. This event will celebrate local artists, activists, and makers who embody the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., justice, and visibility. The afternoon will feature film screenings, conversations, and presentations about grassroots movements in Chicago.

Monday, 1/18, 5–6:15pm CST, The Art Institute of Chicago, King Day Virtual Performance: Rebirth Poetry Ensemble and In the Spirit
Rebirth Poetry Ensemble, a youth collective, and the performance duo In the Spirit have been performing at the Art Institute’s annual King Day festival for several years. This year they’ve created spoken-word pieces in response to the exhibition Bisa Butler: Portraits, bringing to life Butler’s quilts and the legacy of Dr. King through original stories woven together with rhythm and song.

If you are looking to be of service to your community this MLK holiday, The Obama Foundation has put together a list of volunteer opportunities and resources in Chicago and beyond. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day from all of us at WITS!