Martin Luther King, Jr. Day means no school–so there’s no excuse not to make it out to some of these fun celebrations of his legacy going on all around the city. Choose your own adventure from the below!
All Weekend (January 19-21)
MLK Day at Brooklyn Children’s Museum
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum will be celebrating MLK all weekend long with programs for every age. Saturday and Sunday, for tots 5 and under, check out “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Message of Peace” for a celebration of diversity. Or bring your 4 and up kings to “MLK Day-Justice Everywhere” to discover the MLK’s philosophies and design your own art piece to carry on his legacy. On Monday, enjoy the museum free of charge for a special holiday free admissions. 145 Brooklyn Avenue, at St. Marks Avenue
Abolitionist scavenger hunt at New York Historical Society
The scavenger hunt will take your family on journey throughout New York Historical Society as you learn about the unique story of abolitionist James McCune Smith, first African university-trained physician practicing in 19th century New York City. 170 Central Park West, at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street).
Saturday, January 19th
Family Art Projects at Will Hill: Make Freedom Pillows
Celebrate the holiday with traditional African America quilt-making. Learn about about quilting and make your own Freedom Pillows at the this Family Art Project at the Ecology Building at Will Hill. Activity free, and admissions to ground free until noon. West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx.
Monday, January 21st
MLK Day Workshops at Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a series of events to celebrate diversity in our community. Special MLK events include “Have a Dream Mural,” where kids will make self-portraits that will be sewn together in the I Have a Dream Quilt, and “Make a Difference Pledge,” where kids can draw pictures of their own pledge to help the community. Other events include an arts & crafts session to build a “Friends in My Neighborhood” collage, a special reading of civil rights icon Ruby Bridges’ book Through My Eyes, and a extraordinary and inspirational performance by the world famous Harlem Gospel Choir. Times and prices vary. 212 West 83rd Street; 212-721-1223
Manhattan Country School Annual Student Led March
Manhattan Country School’s eighth graders will lead a march in honor the Dr. Martin Luther King. The theme of this year’s annual march is “In 25 Years: Reflecting on the Civil Rights Struggles of the Past, Looking Toward Justice for Tomorrow.” The students have chosen a route with special points of interests where students will stop to give their own speeches related to civil rights issues of today. Families, alumni, staff, friends, and fellow classmates are encouraged to attend. March begins at 1. Gracie Mansion (East End Avenue and 89th Street) and ends at Manhattan Country School (7 East 96th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues).
Annual Brooklyn Tribute to MLK at BAM
Presented by BAM, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Medgar Evers College, this 27th annual celebration includes performances by Fort Greene/Clinton Hill’s own Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir, and husband-and-wife R&B duo Kindred the Family Soul. Keynote speaker, legendary musician, and humanitarian Harry Belafonte will speak about social activism and his friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event will also include live simulcast of the presidential inauguration of President Obama’s second term. Admissions is free. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-seated basis starting at 8am in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House lobby. 30 Lafayette Avenue (between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street).
Martin Luther King Jr. Day at CMA
Children’s Museum of Art will be hosting art activities and reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for all ages. Make your own stop motion animation at the “Dream Animation” workshop, or get creative with DIY stamps with foam and cardboard at “Peace Prints.” At “Embroidered Heroic Portraits,” you’ll even learn how to embroider a portrait of an inspirational person in your life! 103 Charlton Street, New York.
Martin Luther King Jr Day Special: Seneca Village Tour
Enjoy a day in the park with a special walking tour of Central Park’s Seneca Village, the village once inhabited by Manhattan’s first African American landowners. Learn about the rich history of the village and the times of early 19th century. 59th Street to 110th Street, (between Fifth and Eighth Avenues).
MLK Day Historic Harlem Walking Tour
Follow in MLK’s footsteps and join a walking tour of historic Harlem with Big Onion Walking Tours. You will visit churches, theaters, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Striver’s Row related to the rich African-American history in the important New York City neighborhood. Northwest corner of 135th Street & Lenox (Malcolm X) Avenue, in front of the Schomburg Center.
New York Historical Society Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation
Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with Tonya Bolden, author of Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl. Bold will read from her new children’s book, Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty, and stay after for a Q & A. Families can participate in the NYHS Abolitionist scavenger hunt, taking place all weekend long! 170 Central Park West, at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street).