Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity for many families to relax over a long weekend, but there are many ways for citizens across major American cities to actively honor the man for whom the holiday is named.
At parades, concerts and other events, people gather to mark the life and work of Dr. King and the legacy of peace he dreamed of. Here are six MLK Day celebrations happening across the country.
Los Angeles: 35th Annual Kingdom Day Parade
One of the country’s largest events on MLK Day happens in LA, with a parade of thousands starting at Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Western and makes its way down to Crenshaw and Vernon in Leimert Park. The parade this year, with its theme of “Equality For All Humanity, Our Next Step,” includes local civic groups, marching bands and parade floats.
New York: Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosts an annual event dedicated to the civil rights leader full of music numbers. This year’s musical lineup features Son Little and the Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir, accompanied by an art exhibit put on by students from NYCHA, and comments from Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won praise this year for her 1619 Project in the New York Times.
Chicago: Sinfonietta’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert
The “city’s hippest orchestra,” the Chicago Sinfonietta, puts on a yearly concert in honor of Dr. King. Along with "The Voice" semi-finalist Kymberli Joye, the group will perform pieces like Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain” and “Glory” by John Legend and Common.
Washington, D.C.: Let Freedom Ring!
Grammy-winning Chaka Khan and the Let Freedom Ring Choir pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at The Kennedy Center. The event also honors Sandra Jackson, who is receiving the 18th annual John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award from Georgetown University for her work as executive director of the House of Ruth, which helps provide housing for women and children.
San Francisco: MLK2020 Commemorative March
Thousands of marchers cross the Lefty O’Doul Bridge, a stand-in for the Edmund Pettus Bridge that Martin Luther King crossed with protestors during his historic march in Selma. Once the procession reaches Yerba Buena Gardens, there will be an interfaith commemoration to Dr. King.
Philadelphia: We Shall Overcome at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
A range of performers join forces at the Annenberg Center to celebrate Dr. King, including spoken word renditions of his famous speeches, as well as musicians performing choir music, gospel and jazz in a collage of African American traditions.