Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, (Monday, Jan. 20), officially approved as a federal holiday in 1983, is observed as a day of reflection and service to the community.
Below find events in the Twin Cities and beyond to celebrate Dr. King’s enduring legacy as a champion of social and racial justice, equity and equality.
January 14 (ongoing)
Two Exhibits: “8 Seasons of Art” & “Black Ingenuity”
@ the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG), 1256 Penn Ave. N., 4th Floor, Mpls.
Two new art exhibitions at MAAHMG present the perfect opportunity to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy. “8 Seasons of Art: Exhibition + Documentary,” which opened Jan. 9, is a multi-medium exhibition derived from the documentary of the same name by local film director Phillip McGraw. The multi-medium exhibition gives visitors an opportunity to watch the documentary and view artworks by visual artists that address issues of social and economic injustice, racism and violence.
The exhibition “Black Ingenuity: Past, Present and Future Innovators,” which opened Jan. 2, features Blacks in Minnesota who made an impact in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields through their research, inventions and designs.
Both exhibitions run until May 31. Admission is free and parking is free in the ramp attached to the building. Museum hours are 1-5 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 1-7 pm on Thursday and 9 am-12 pm on Saturday.
Saturday, January 18
VocalEssence Together We Sing Festival
1:30-5 pm @ Minnesota History Center, 345 West Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul
On MLK weekend, the joyful sounds of VocalEssence and guest artists will once again celebrate the spirit of togetherness and brotherly/sisterly love. Enjoy a performance by future stars from the diverse youth choir, VocalEssence Singers of This Age, and give back through a service project to support healthy Black pregnancies and families. The performance is from 1:30-2 pm, followed by artist workshops from 2-5 pm. Free, but registration required.
#PassionForGreater MLK Celebration
2-5 pm @Arlington Hills Community Center, 1200 Payne Ave., St. Paul
Come celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King with live performances, vendors, food, fun and games for the whole family. Free and open to the public.
Sunday, January 19
39th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert
3-4:30 pm @ University’s Ted Mann Concert Hall, U of M West Bank campus, 2128 4th St. S., Minneapolis
This concert artfully blends the inspiring words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with musical performances. With this year’s theme of “I Am Because We Are,” the program will be curated by U of M alumnus G. Phillip Shoultz, III of VocalEssence and feature Freddie Bell and Chantel Sings of “The Morning Show” on KMOJ Radio; Hollywood Studio of Dance (Diane Elliott-Robinson, founder); the University of Minnesota Gospel Choir (Adrian Davis, director); a chamber orchestra of U of M students, and more.
The concert is free and open to the public; no advance tickets or reservations are required.
MLK Interfaith Service
4-5:30 pm @ Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 219 N. 6th Ave., East Duluth
With this year’s theme, “Give Us the Ballot,” this interfaith service, part of the Duluth-Twin Ports MLK Tribute sponsored by the NAACP Duluth Branch, offers community members an opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy through the lens of current race relations.
Monday, January 20
30th Annual MLK Holiday Breakfast
7 am @ The Armory, 500 S. 6th St., Minneapolis
“Rise Up” is the theme of this annual breakfast-fundraiser that benefits the UNCF MLK Legacy Scholarship Fund. This year’s keynote speaker is former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the first African American to serve in that position. Entertainment will be provided by local chart-topping gospel artist Jovanta Patton and dance troupe Shapeshift.
Tickets for the event are a hot commodity each year, but it can be viewed at 8 am on Twin Cities Public Television and streamed online at TPT.org. You can also watch the broadcast at one of the neighborhood locations listed below.
All Twin Cities-area breakfasts request a $5 donation (children 12 and under are free) and start at 8 am except where noted. $25 for general admission.
2020 Community Breakfast Viewing Sites:
- Mount Olivet Baptist Church, 451 Central Ave. W., St. Paul, MN 55103
- Luther Seminary, 2481 Como Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108
- University of Minnesota Duluth Campus, 1120 Kirby Dr., Duluth, MN 55812
- St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 111 E. Orleans St., Stillwater, MN 55082
- Brooklyn United Methodist Church, 7200 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Center, MN 55429
- Judson Memorial Baptist Church, 4101 Harriet Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55409
- White Bear Unitarian Universalist, 328 Maple St., Mahtomedi, MN 55115
- Saint Bridget Catholic Church, 211 E. Division St., River Falls, WI 54022
Twin Ports’ MLK Community Breakfast
7-9 am @ Twin Ports’ MLK Community Breakfast, Holy Family Catholic Church, 2430 W. 3rd St., Duluth
Enjoy a meal and partake in conversation at this free breakfast in honor of Dr. King’s life and vision. This event is in conjunction with the Twin Ports’ MLK celebrations and will live-steam former Attorney General Eric H. Holder’s keynote address.
MLK Breakfast and Day of Service: Our Community Dream, Serve, Believe
8-10:30 am @ River’s Edge Convention Center, 10 4th Ave. S., St. Cloud
Valerie Jarrett will provide the keynote address for this seventh annual event. Jarrett was the longest-serving senior advisor to former President Barack Obama. Currently, she is a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation, a senior distinguished fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and president of the board of When We All Vote.
During the keynote address, children grades K-5 will be engaged with activities focused on intercultural literacy and community service. Every child who participates will receive a book.
The event is free and open to the public; however, registration is required. Registration closes on Jan. 20 and seating is limited.
MLK Day of Service
9:30 am – 12 pm @ U.S. Bank Stadium, 401 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis
Join hundreds of other community members and work towards building the “Beloved Community” through volunteerism. A collaboration between HandsOn Twin Cities, General Mills, and the Minnesota Vikings, this family-friendly event will feature three volunteer activities—assembly of snack-packs and school supply kits for local students and creating cards for local teachers.
MLK Day 20/20: Focus on Freedom
9-11:30 am @ Nativity Lutheran Church, 3312 Silver Lake Rd. N.E., St. Anthony
This free fourth annual event will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement through music and spoken word. People young and young at heart are welcome to gather in unity to ask questions, have an open dialog, create art projects, and see local artists perform.
Twin Ports’ MLK Youth March
10-11:30 am @ Washington Center, 310 North 1st Ave., West Duluth
Join youth as they take to the streets to fight against systemic racism and oppression. The march will kick off at the Washington Center, on the corner of 4th St. and Lake Ave., and proceed through downtown Duluth to the DECC where the MLK Rally will commence at noon. Free food and hot beverages will be served. Attendees who arrive on time will get a free MLK button while supplies last.
34th Annual State of Minnesota Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration
10 am-12 pm @ Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 345 Washington Street, St. Paul
Yara Shahidi, actress on the hit TV sitcom “Blackish” and producer of “Grown-ish,” is the keynote for the State of Minnesota Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration. The theme for this year’s celebration is “For Our Children.” The festivities kick off at 9:15 am with activities in the foyer, followed by a program at 10 am that includes a keynote address, live performers and more.
The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited; early arrival is suggested. TPT will air the events live.
MPRB Powderhorn Park MLK Celebration
11 am-2 pm @Powderhorn Recreation Center, 3400 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Featuring live entertainment, a free meal and other activities, this annual event offers community members a chance to reflect on the legacy of Dr. King in a family-friendly environment. Attendees are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items. Free books will be offered to the first 150 attendees.
The Minneapolis Professional Diversity Career Fair
11 am-2 pm @ U.S. Bank Stadium, West Plaza Lobby, 401 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis
Update your resume and plan to meet face-to-face with employers from the Greater Minneapolis area at this free job fair.
MLK Jr. Community Day
11 am-3 pm @ Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul
Honor the lasting legacy of Dr. King with an afternoon of music, dance and service at the Minnesota History Center.
The VocalEssence youth choir will draw on songs from their vast catalog, and youth drummers from ARTS-Us will share rhythms from across the African diaspora. Families can also partake in assembling roadside kindness kits as part of a service project with Small Sums, a nonprofit that supports people experiencing homelessness. $6-12 site admission/MNHS members free.
Info: mnhs.org/event/8091 or call 651-259-301
2020 Twin Ports MLK Rally
12-1:30 pm @ Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, 350 Harbor Dr., Duluth
The theme for this year’s rally is centered on Dr. King’s “Give Us the Ballot and We Will Transform the South,” with Autumn Brown serving as keynote speaker and Doreen Nyamwaya emceeing. Performers include the ARE Poets, Major Attraktion Dance Group, and more. The Drum Major for Peace Awards will be announced and presented. There will be children’s activities, a selfie photo booth, vendors, and free MLK buttons while supplies last outside the DECC hall before and shortly after the rally.
Augsburg University MLK Convocation
1-3 pm @ Augsburg Chapel, 625 22nd Ave. S., Minneapolis
Dr. John S Wright will present “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” Wright is the Morse-Amoco Distinguished Teaching Full professor of African American & African Studies and English at the University of Minnesota. He was born in Minneapolis, earned a Ph.D. in American Studies and the History of African peoples, an M.A. in English and American literature, and a Bachelor’s of Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota.
He helped lead the student movement that founded the University’s Department of African American & African Studies, which he chaired for three terms, and its Martin Luther King Program, which he administered from 1970-73. Wright also built a major in Afro-American and African Studies at Carleton College, where he taught from 1973-83. This lecture is free and open to the public.
MLK Day ‘Humanize My Hoodie’ Documentary Premiere and Q&A
1 pm & 4 pm @ Phoenix Theater, 2605 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
The Humanize My Hoodie Family will premiere a 30-minute documentary that explores the journey of two Black men, Jason Sole and Andre’ Wright, who try to survive in a world that doesn’t appreciate their Black skin. The biopic highlights Sole’s and Wright’s childhoods, adulthoods, and their road to New York Fashion Week. The film is inspirational but also educational. $20 for general admission screening; $100 for VIP, which includes autographed book and documentary.
MPRB Central MLK Celebration
3-4:30 pm @Central Gym, 3400 4th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Come and celebrate the life and movement of Dr. King with recitals, choirs, music, dance, a guest speaker, and an old-fashioned soul food dinner. Free and open to the public.
MPRB MLK Recreation Center Celebration
6:30-8 pm @Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center, 4055 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis
The MPRB’s MLK festivities will conclude with an evening of speeches, live entertainment, and refreshments. Roger Cummings, founding principal and chief cultural producer at Juxtaposition Arts will provide the keynote address. Performers include the award-winning local jazz musician Ernest Bisong and praise dancers. MPRB’s annual “Living the Dream” Award will be presented to community leader and volunteer Lynne Crockett. Refreshments will follow the program. Free and open to the public.
Ginger Commodore – A Celebration for Martin Luther King, Jr.
7-10 pm @ The Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
A member of the Midwest music scene for many years, Ginger Commodore is a regular visitor to the Dakota stage. Classically trained, gospel-influenced, and jazz-inspired, Commodore’s musical foundation is a true amalgam of musical styles presented with her own unique delivery. The show will also feature the singing talents of Julius Collins and Jesse Larson. Tickets are $20-30.
REEL Talk: “I Am Not Your Negro”
7 pm @ Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul
Reflect on the unfinished work of James Baldwin, in a film narration about race in America using the writer’s original words as read by actor Samuel L. Jackson. Conversation follows the screening. The event is free, but registration is required.
Robert Robinson Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.
7:30 pm @ Crooners, 6161 Highway 65 N.E., Minneapolis
Robert Robinson will lead music lovers in song to celebrate the legacy, and still-to-be-fulfilled promise, of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Enjoy a soaring assembly of musical hope and brotherhood, made in the name of one of our nation’s sustaining fathers. Tickets are $20 – $25.
Tuesday, January 21
MLK Commemoration at Hamline University
9:30-11 am @ Anderson Center, 774 Snelling Ave., St. Paul
All are welcome to attend this free community event that will reflect upon Dr. King’s life, leadership and pursuit of racial and social justice. The commemoration will center on a speech titled “The Other America” that was first delivered by Dr. King at Stanford University in 1967 and again in slight variations at different locations throughout 1968.
The event program will feature faculty, staff and student reflections from Professor Leticia Basford (CLA/Education), staff member Becky Kaarbo (Student Affairs), undergraduate student leader Dieu Do, as well as readings, musical selections, and remarks from Hamline University President Dr. Fayneese Miller.
National Day of Racial Healing
12- 1:30 pm @ Minneapolis City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., Minneapolis
The City of Minneapolis’ Division of Race and Equity invites you to help plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.
This day is a part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s commitment to promoting racial equity—it began as part of WKKF’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort. An evening program will follow the discussion. This event is free and open to the public.
Metropolitan State University Inaugural Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
12-8 pm @ Metropolitan State University, 700 7th St. E., St. Paul
Metropolitan State University will host its inaugural celebration in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The festivities kick off with a community volunteer project from noon to 2 pm in the Founders Hall Reception area. Lunch will be served.
The evening celebration, emceed by WCCO’s Reg Chapman, includes a selection by the Minnesota State Baptist Convention Choir, a soul food dinner from 5:30-6:30 pm, and a performance of Dr. King’s speeches followed by a discussion led by Penumbra Theater from 6:30-8 pm. The festivities are free and open to the public but registration is required.
Dinner info: bit.ly/MetroMLKDinner2020
Performance info: bit.ly/MetroDinnerMLK2020
Thursday, January 23
MLK Celebration & Engagement
8 am-4 pm @ Minneapolis College, 1501 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
Minneapolis College invites you to join us in celebration and engagement in the T Plaza. The afternoon’s activities include a continental breakfast from 8-8:30 am, a workshop from 9:30 am-12 pm, lunch from 12-1:30 pm, and a keynote address from 1:30-3 pm. Service projects, along with resource tables, take place from 8:30-9:30 am and 3-4 pm. This event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Minneapolis College parking ramp.
“A Choice of Weapons, Honor, and Dignity: The Visions of Gordon Parks and Jamel Shabazz” Opening Night Party
6-8 pm @ Minnesota Museum of American Art (The M), 350 Robert Street North, St. Paul
The opening night of an exhibition showcasing photographs of dignity, honor, hope, and love in the African American community by two towering photographers: Gordon Parks and Jamel Shabazz. Robin Hickman-Winfield, CEO and executive producer of SoulTouch Productions, and a great-niece of Gordon Parks, helped curate the exhibition with a host of others. The exhibition runs until April 19. Free and open to the public.
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