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MLK Day 2023: 5 Things to Do to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in Chicago

Don't miss these events on Monday, January 16.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Family
Source: 2022 PUSH Excel Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration YouTube Video Screenshot

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is on January 15, but the national holiday will be celebrated on Monday, January 16. Today marks the 94th birthday of the civil rights leader who was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. MLK Day is a time to reflect and celebrate the legacy of America’s famous civil rights leader and activist.

More than 55 years have passed since Dr. King delivered his speech at Soldier Field in Chicago. That day, known as Freedom Sunday, represented a bold move in our country’s history. During Dr. King’s speech on July 10, 1966, he declared, “This day we must declare our own Emancipation Proclamation. This day we must commit ourselves to make any sacrifice necessary to change Chicago,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

Dr. King was on a mission to end housing discrimination in Chicago. A week after his death, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law on April 11, 1968. Known as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in housing transactions.

Around Chicago’s South Side, many individuals and community organizations are gathering to celebrate the life of Dr. King. Chicago Southsider is on a mission to keep Dr. King’s legacy alive by providing valuable resources and information that will take our community to the next level. Please consider supporting our work by becoming an annual subscriber.

Dr. King once said, “This day we must declare our own Emancipation Proclamation.” Well, that’s exactly what we plan to do.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate MLK Day on Monday, Jan. 16, here are five events to add to your list.

5 Things to Do to Celebrate MLK Day

1. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Family Entertainment Center MLK Day Events

Location: 1219 W. 76th St. in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood

Times: You can review the schedule online

Starting at noon on Saturday, the MLK Park and Family Entertainment Center will host skating events through MLK Day. You can take advantage of special skating sessions and pricing. On Monday, you can participate in an early-bird bowl or skate event and mystery character skate or bowl event. You can review the schedule online

2. Museum of Science and Industry Black Creativity Family Day

Location: 5700 N. DuSable Lake Shore Drive

Time: Monday at 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Family Day will take place on Monday and is open to kids and adults of all ages. Families can participate in a series of events, including Hear We Art™, a community activity led by artist Rachel Gadson, from ILA Creative Studio and Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition. The exhibit showcases the work of Black people in science, technology, and art. You can buy your tickets online.

3. MLK Day: Southside Stories

Location: Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave.

Time: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday

The Hyde Park Art Center will host performances, movie screenings, a teen podcast series kickoff, and more. Tickets are free. You can register online to reserve your spot. View the full schedule online.

4. My Block, My Hood, My City MLK Day of Service 

Location: 8350 S. King Drive

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. CST Monday

Join My Block, My Hood, My City for MLK Day of Service. The organization is collecting hats, gloves, scarves, home goods, food, and other items to deliver to over 300 seniors in Chicago. If you are interested in volunteering, you can bring items for donation to seniors, or come prepared to make deliveries to 2-3 seniors. Learn more and sign up here.  

5. DuSable Museum MLK Day Events

Location: DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Place

Times: Various times throughout Monday, starting at 10 a.m.

Visit The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center for MLK Day events from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The event is sponsored by The Monarch Awards Foundation of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. You can participate in children’s storytime, a film screening of 2001 “Boycott,” and a taping of elder’s stories about Dr. King civil rights and social justice. There will also be a pop-up Civil Rights Movement exhibit with items from DuSable Museum’s collection and a 1950s bus provided by PACE outside the museum in remembrance of Rosa Parks. Learn more here.

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